By RMM Team

High Balance FHA Loans Explained

Explore high balance FHA loans: low down payment, relaxed credit guidelines, and higher loan limits in high-cost areas. Ideal for first-time homebuyers.

In the dynamic world of mortgages, one term you might come across is "high balance FHA loans." This product, insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), has become a magnet for first-time homebuyers. But what makes these loans so popular? In this article, we'll break down the key features, benefits, and requirements of high balance FHA loans.

The Appeal of FHA Loans

FHA loans have two main attractions. First, they require a low down payment — just 3.5% of the sales price. Second, they have relatively relaxed credit guidelines. This combination of easier qualifying and lower down payment requirements makes FHA loans particularly appealing to first-time homebuyers. However, these loans can only be used to finance a primary residence, not a rental property or second home.

The FHA Loan Guarantee

One unique feature of FHA loans is their guarantee to the lender in case of loan default. If an FHA loan goes into foreclosure, the lender is compensated for the loss. This guarantee, financed by an upfront mortgage insurance premium and an annual premium paid in monthly installments, gives lenders the confidence to relax credit guidelines.

Qualifying for FHA Loans

The minimum credit score for FHA loans starts at 580, but it can go lower if buyers make a larger down payment. Lenders typically require at least two years of employment history and recent pay stubs. Your loan officer will provide a comprehensive list of requirements when you submit your application.

Understanding FHA Loan Limits

FHA loans come with a maximum loan limit that varies by county. In most areas, the limit for a single-family home is $314,827. Multi-unit properties have higher limits. These limits are set at 65% of the national conforming loan limit, which is reviewed annually and adjusted based on the national median home value.

High Balance FHA Loans: A Solution for High-Cost Areas

In areas with high median home values, standard conforming loan limits don't suffice. To cater to these "high-cost" areas, high balance FHA loans offer larger loan amounts — up to 150% of the national conforming limit. This means in a high-cost area, the FHA loan limit can reach up to $726,525 for a single-family home, with even higher limits for multi-unit properties.

Making the Right Choice

While high balance FHA loans offer numerous benefits, it's essential to compare all your options. Consult with your loan officer or financial advisor to determine the best fit for your circumstances. Remember, the key difference with high balance FHA loans is the final loan amount. If a lower down payment, easier qualifying, and a lender guarantee appeal to you, these loans make a compelling case, especially in areas where homes are priced much higher than the national average.

At, we're committed to helping you understand the complexities of the mortgage landscape. With knowledge on your side, you're well-equipped to make the best decisions for your financial future. Stay tuned for more insights and explanations on all things mortgage-related!

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