Compare Jumbo Mortgage Rates

A jumbo loan gives you more borrowing power for expensive homes, but the larger loan amount makes finding the best jumbo mortgage rates even more important. 

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How do jumbo loans work?

A jumbo loan is a loan that exceeds the conforming loan limits in your area. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) sets conforming loan limits. In 2021, the maximum conforming loan limit is $548,250. If you’re in a high-cost area, the limit is $822,375. Any loan amount above those limits would be considered a jumbo loan.

You can check the limit for your county here.

Jumbo vs. conforming loan

If you’re buying an expensive home near or in a major city, you’ll probably hear the terms “jumbo loan” and “conforming loan.” A conforming loan meets guidelines and loan limits set by two government-supported enterprises: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

A jumbo loan is a “non-conforming loan,” which means government-sponsored agencies don’t set the qualifying requirements.

What are jumbo mortgage requirements?

Lenders typically set stricter qualifying guidelines for jumbo mortgages. Jumbo mortgage requirements may include:

  • A down payment of at least 20%
  • A minimum credit score of 700 or higher
  • A debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 45% or lower
  • A maximum loan amount of $1 to $2 million
  • Several months’ (six to 24 depending on the lender) worth of cash reserves in the bank

Because jumbo loans don’t adhere to rules set by a government agency, some lenders offer niche jumbo programs for borrowers with unusual circumstances such as:

30-year fixed-rate jumbo vs. 15-year fixed rate jumbo loans

Deciding between a 30-year and a 15-year fixed-rate jumbo loan comes down to how much you can qualify to borrow. The table below gives you an idea of the payment difference between a 30-year jumbo rate at 3%, and a 15-year jumbo rate of 2.5% on a $1 million loan amount.

Loan amount Loan term Monthly principal and interest payment
$1,000,000 30 years $4,216.04
$1,000,000 15 years $6,667.89

Many jumbo lenders offer adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) options with a lower initial rate that usually lasts for three, five, seven or 10 years. After the initial fixed-rate period ends, the rate changes based on the terms of your ARM agreement.

Some jumbo lenders even offer an interest-only option for jumbo loans. Once the interest-only period ends, you pay the remaining balance in installments for the remaining loan term, which could be a shock to your budget if you don’t pay your loan balance down before the bigger payments begin.

How to get the best jumbo mortgage rates

Lenders typically hold jumbo mortgages in their loan portfolios, which means they can set interest rates based on their own standards. Shopping for jumbo loan rates may save you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of a large loan amount.

You may find big differences in 30-year jumbo rates offered by different mortgage companies, but in most cases you’ll get the best jumbo loan rates by following these five steps:

  1. Boost your credit score as high as possible. Although a 700 credit score will typically get you a jumbo loan approval, jumbo lenders often offer the best jumbo rates to the higher-credit-score borrowers.
  2. Make a bigger down payment. You’ll need at least 20% down, but you may be rewarded with a lower rate if you can come up with even more. If you have some wiggle room with your down payment, make sure you let the lenders know when you start shopping.
  3. Check with your local or investment bank. Institutional banks may offer special rates on jumbo loans to customers with large deposit balances and investment portfolios.
  4. Check with mortgage mortgage banks and mortgage brokers. You may find a mortgage broker or bank with a special jumbo loan program.
  5. Avoid low documentation loan options. Jumbo lenders may offer loans with less stringent documentation requirements for unique employment scenarios (such as bank statements instead of tax returns). However, you may pay a higher rate for the extra flexibility.

Jumbo mortgage rates FAQs 

You should consider a jumbo mortgage if you’re buying an expensive home and need a loan higher than the conforming loan limits in your area.

A jumbo loan allows you to borrow more money than conventional loan programs allow. You can keep some of your cash assets in the bank, and potentially increase your mortgage interest tax write-off.

If you’re buying a single-family home with a loan amount above $548,250 in most U.S. counties (or $822,375 in high-cost areas), you’ll need a jumbo loan.

Yes; jumbo refinance loans work much like conventional, conforming refinances, but set stricter limits for income, credit and credit scores. One tip: Conforming loan limits change every year, so you may be able to avoid the tougher jumbo approval standards by checking the limits in your area annually.

Most jumbo loans are “manually underwritten.” A human underwriter does most of the review, instead of the automated underwriting systems (AUS) typically used for conforming loans.