Conforming-jumbo loans still playing hard to get

By Marcie Geffner and Holden Lewis -

Higher loan limits, set by the federal government as part of an economic stimulus package early this year, were supposed to make jumbo loans more affordable in expensive housing markets. Rates finally have come down on these so-called "jumbo conforming" mortgages, though these loans likely will remain hard to get for most borrowers.

Jumbo-conforming loans range in size from $417,000 to nearly $730,000 and are especially important in expensive housing markets. A small condominium or modest first home can cost upward of $500,000 in markets such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Alexandria, Va., New York and other costly locales.

Depending on the buyer's credit score, the appraised value of the home and the condition of the real estate market in the area, there are three types of jumbo-conforming loans to consider.

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