For many individuals and families, owning a home is a lifelong dream. However, with rising real estate prices, some may find themselves seeking financing beyond the conforming loan limit. This is where jumbo loans come into play.
What is a jumbo loan?
A jumbo loan in Alaska is a type of mortgage that enables homebuyers to borrow more than the limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for conforming loans. The conforming loan limit (CLL) is the maximum amount of money that a lender will provide to borrowers at a specific interest rate and is established each year. Jumbo loans are necessary for homebuyers who want to purchase a high-value property, such as a luxury home, that exceeds the conforming loan limit.
If you’re considering purchasing a home that requires financing beyond the CLL, then you’ll need to apply for a jumbo loan. But because of the larger loan amounts and increased risk for lenders, Alaska jumbo loans often come with higher interest rates and stricter requirements than conventional loans. For instance, a larger down payment and a higher credit score may be required to qualify for a jumbo loan.
What is the jumbo loan limit in Alaska?
In Alaska, the conforming loan limit is $1,089,300 across all counties. For example, if you’re buying a home in Anchorage Municipality, where the median sale price is $400,000, a loan limit exceeding $1,089,300 would be considered a jumbo loan.
Keep in mind that the loan amount is what determines whether or not you’ll need a jumbo loan, not the price of the home. So, if you were to put $200,000 down on a $1,200,000 home in Anchorage, the mortgage would be $1,000,000, which is under the conforming loan limit for this area. In this case, your loan wouldn’t be considered a jumbo loan.
For more information on the conforming loan limit in your county, use the FHFA map.
What are the requirements for a jumbo loan in Alaska?
The requirements to qualify for a jumbo loan are more stringent than the requirements for a conforming loan. Each lender may have different requirements or processes, but below are the typical requirements for borrowers seeking a jumbo loan.
Higher credit score: When it comes to receiving a jumbo loan in Alaska, credit score requirements are typically more stringent than for conventional mortgages. It’s possible that some lenders may accept a lower score, a credit score of at least 720 is generally required to qualify for a jumbo loan. It’s important to have a strong credit profile and a solid financial history to increase your chances of being approved for a jumbo loan.
Larger down payment: Jumbo loans are a popular financing option for homebuyers looking to buy higher-priced homes. However, compared to traditional mortgages, jumbo loans typically require a larger down payment. The exact amount required will vary depending on the lender and the borrower’s finances, but down payment requirements for jumbo loans can be as high as 20%, sometimes 30%. It’s worth noting that putting down a larger sum upfront can often help borrowers secure a better interest rate on their jumbo loan.
More assets: Jumbo loan lenders generally require borrowers to demonstrate a strong financial profile, including substantial liquid assets or savings. To qualify for a jumbo loan, borrowers must have enough reserves to cover at least one year of mortgage payments. This requirement ensures that borrowers have the financial flexibility to meet their loan obligations in the event of a financial hardship.
Lower debt-to-income ratio (DTI): Whether you’re applying for a traditional mortgage or a jumbo loan, lenders evaluate your spending habits and creditworthiness by analyzing your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). The DTI is determined by dividing the total of your monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income. While some lenders may accept a DTI as high as 50% for a conforming loan, those applying for a jumbo loan should aim for a DTI under 43% and ideally closer to 36%.
Additional home appraisals: Mortgage lenders may require a second home appraisal as an extra layer of protection when it comes to jumbo loans. The second appraisal serves as an additional opinion to ensure the property’s value aligns with the loan amount. In areas with limited comparable property sales, this extra appraisal may cost more than in neighborhoods with more frequent sales.