FHA Loans: What You Need to Know in 2022
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2022 FHA Loan Limits in California

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California homebuyers have more borrowing power than ever, as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) backs loan amounts as high as $420,680 for single-family homes in 2022. Buyers looking for a one-unit home in more expensive metro areas, like Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay Area, may qualify for an FHA loan amount as high as $970,800.

California FHA loan limits by county

County nameOne unitTwo unitThree unitFour unitMedian sales price
ALAMEDA$970,800$1,243,050$1,502,475$1,867,275$1,629,000
ALPINE$463,450$593,300$717,150$891,250$249,000
AMADOR$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$350,000
BUTTE$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$266,000
CALAVERAS$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$345,000
COLUSA$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$308,000
CONTRA COSTA$970,800$1,243,050$1,502,475$1,867,275$1,629,000
DEL NORTE$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$249,000
EL DORADO$675,050$864,200$1,044,600$1,298,200$587,000
FRESNO$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$340,000
GLENN$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$275,000
HUMBOLDT$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$351,000
IMPERIAL$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$273,000
INYO$431,250$552,050$667,350$829,350$375,000
KERN$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$280,000
KINGS$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$290,000
LAKE$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$245,000
LASSEN$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$185,000
LOS ANGELES$970,800$1,243,050$1,502,475$1,867,275$955,000
MADERA$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$337,000
MARIN$970,800$1,243,050$1,502,475$1,867,275$1,629,000
MARIPOSA$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$289,000
MENDOCINO$506,000$647,750$783,000$973,100$440,000
MERCED$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$348,000
MODOC$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$130,000
MONO$563,500$721,400$872,000$1,083,650$490,000
MONTEREY$854,450$1,093,850$1,322,200$1,643,200$743,000
NAPA$897,000$1,148,350$1,388,050$1,725,050$780,000
NEVADA$609,500$780,250$943,150$1,172,150$530,000
ORANGE$970,800$1,243,050$1,502,475$1,867,275$955,000
PLACER$675,050$864,200$1,044,600$1,298,200$587,000
PLUMAS$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$275,000
RIVERSIDE$562,350$719,900$870,200$1,081,450$489,000
SACRAMENTO$675,050$864,200$1,044,600$1,298,200$587,000
SAN BENITO$970,800$1,243,050$1,502,475$1,867,275$1,421,000
SAN BERNARDINO$562,350$719,900$870,200$1,081,450$489,000
SAN DIEGO$879,750$1,126,250$1,361,350$1,691,850$765,000
SAN FRANCISCO$970,800$1,243,050$1,502,475$1,867,275$1,629,000
SAN JOAQUIN$563,500$721,400$872,000$1,083,650$490,000
SAN LUIS OBISPO$805,000$1,030,550$1,245,700$1,548,100$700,000
SAN MATEO$970,800$1,243,050$1,502,475$1,867,275$1,629,000
SANTA BARBARA$783,150$1,002,600$1,211,900$1,506,100$681,000
SANTA CLARA$970,800$1,243,050$1,502,475$1,867,275$1,421,000
SANTA CRUZ$970,800$1,243,050$1,502,475$1,867,275$945,000
SHASTA$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$312,000
SIERRA$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$250,000
SISKIYOU$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$185,000
SOLANO$614,100$786,150$950,300$1,181,000$534,000
SONOMA$764,750$979,000$1,183,400$1,470,700$665,000
STANISLAUS$460,000$588,850$711,800$884,600$400,000
SUTTER$420,900$538,800$651,300$809,450$366,000
TEHAMA$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$260,000
TRINITY$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$240,000
TULARE$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$290,000
TUOLUMNE$420,680$538,650$651,050$809,150$327,000
VENTURA$851,000$1,089,450$1,316,900$1,636,550$740,000
YOLO$675,050$864,200$1,044,600$1,298,200$587,000
YUBA$420,900$538,800$651,300$809,450$366,000

How are FHA loan limits determined?

FHA loan limits are based on a percentage of the conforming loan limits published annually by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for conventional loans. The limits reflect changes in the average U.S. home price over the previous four quarters, and include limits for low-cost areas and more expensive, high-cost areas.

Here’s how the calculations work:

The California low-cost limit or “floor” is $420,680 for a single-family home, which is equal to 65% of the 2022 national conforming loan limit of $647,200. If you’re buying a multifamily home in California, the low-cost limits increase with each unit:

  • $538,650 for a two-unit home
  • $651,050 for a three-unit home
  • $809,150 for a four-unit home

If you decide to buy in an expensive California neighborhood, the high-cost limit is set at 150% of the conforming loan limit, which means you can borrow up to $970,800 for a single-family home. Also known as the “ceiling,” there are nine counties in California that allow you to borrow the $970,800 high-cost FHA loan maximum:

  1. Alameda
  2. Contra Costa
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Marin
  5. Orange
  6. San Benito
  7. San Mateo
  8. Santa Clara
  9. Santa Cruz

How to qualify for an FHA loan in California

FHA loans are a good alternative if you’re not able to get a conventional mortgage because you have lower credit scores or too much debt compared to your income.

Here’s a breakdown of the most current requirements to qualify for an FHA loan in California:

Down payment and credit score. The minimum down payment for FHA loans is 3.5% with at least a 580 credit score. Friends, family members and even your employer can gift you all or part of the down payment. With a 10% down payment, it’s possible to get approved for FHA loans with a score as low as 500.

Debt-to-income ratio. FHA lenders scrutinize your total debt compared to your income to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. The FHA guideline maximum DTI ratio is 43%, but exceptions are possible with strong credit scores or extra cash reserves.

Mortgage insurance. You’ll pay two types of FHA mortgage insurance to protect lenders in case you default on your mortgage payments. The first is an upfront mortgage insurance premium (UFMIP) worth 1.75% of your loan amount, which is usually added to your mortgage. The other is an annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP), which costs 0.45% to 1.05% of the loan amount, divided by 12 and added to your monthly payment. One note: You’ll pay it regardless of your down payment amount.

Occupancy. You must live in your home as a primary residence for at least a year if you take out an FHA loan to buy it. The program doesn’t allow financing on second homes or investment properties.

FHA home appraisals. You’ll need an FHA appraisal for any purchase loan. FHA appraisal guidelines are more stringent than conventional loans.

Buying a multifamily home with an FHA loan

As long as you plan to live in one of the units for a year after you purchase it, you can use the higher multifamily home FHA loan limits to buy a two- to four-unit home. Qualified buyers can purchase a multifamily home with a low 3.5% down payment and use the rental income to help qualify (conventional guidelines typically require at least a 15% down payment for multifamily purchases. In California, this gives you more than a million dollars worth of borrowing power in the most expensive areas:

  • $1,243,050 for a two-unit home
  • $1,502,475 for a three-unit home
  • $1,867,275 for a four-unit home

FHA lenders in California

Lender nameLT ratingMinimum FHA credit score
Wells Fargo8/10Not disclosed
Rocket Mortgage9.5/10580
Zillow Home Loans 7.5/10580
Better Mortgage9.5/10620
Fairway Independent Mortgage8/10600

 

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