VA Loans are available up to $548,250 in most areas but can exceed $800,000 for single-family homes in high-cost counties. Loan limits don't apply to all borrowers.
Your VA loan limit — or how much you can borrow without making a down payment — is directly based on your entitlement. In many cases, you may have no limit whatsoever.
Here’s what you need to know about VA mortgage limits and how they may apply to you.
Technically, there are no limits on how much you can borrow with a VA loan. Instead, VA loan limits mark how much you can borrow without a down payment at closing, and even these limits only apply to homebuyers who don’t have their full VA loan entitlement available.
If you’re willing to put money down, you can take out a loan as large as you financially qualify for. There is a cap on what the Department of Veterans Affairs will insure — or how much the VA will pay back a lender if you default on your loan. As long as you have your full entitlement (this would be noted on your Certificate of Eligibility), the VA will back a quarter of your loan amount, with no limits.
If you have less-than-full entitlement, on the other hand, there will be a limit on how much you can borrow. These limits will depend on the conforming loan limits for your county.
If you have reduced entitlement and don’t want to make a down payment, then a VA loan limit will apply. To determine yours, you’ll need to find out the conforming loan limit for the county you’re buying in. This amount — which varies from $548,250 to $822,375 for a single-family home — will be the maximum amount you can borrow with your VA loan.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has the conforming loan limits for each U.S. county listed here. Keep in mind: Loan limits are higher in pricier housing markets and lower in more affordable areas.
If you’re eyeing a house that is beyond your VA loan limits, you still have options. If you want to continue using a VA loan for the purchase, you’ll need to make a down payment. To calculate your required down payment, take the home’s price, subtract your loan limit, and divide by four. (It should be a quarter of the difference between your purchase price and your VA mortgage limit).
You could also consider another loan program, like a conventional or FHA loan. These require at least 3 to 3.5% down, though, and typically have higher closing costs than VA loans do.
VA loan limits and entitlements are pretty confusing topics, so let’s look at a real-life example. Let’s say Sam is already using $50,000 of his VA loan entitlement but wants to use the remaining entitlement to purchase another property. In his county, the conforming loan limit is $548,250. Since the VA will guarantee a quarter of that amount ($548,250 / 4), he has a maximum entitlement of $137,062.
When you subtract the amount Sam has already used ($137,062 - $50,000), you get $87,062, giving him a VA loan limit of $348,248 ($87,062 x 4).
If he were to purchase a home priced higher than that $348,248, he would need to make a down payment worth at least a quarter of the difference. On a $400,000 home, for example, that would mean a down payment of $12,938 ($400,000 - $348,250 / 4).