The new conforming loan limits (FNMA and FHLMC) are $484,350 in lower cost areas, and $726,525 in high cost areas, such as Orange and Los Angeles counties.
This is great news for both homeowners and prospective buyers. Fannie and Freddie both offer more lenient guidelines for these loans than are generally available for "jumbo" or non-conforming loans, offering higher debt-to-income ratios, more lenient FICO scores, lower reserve requirements, as well as lower interest rates, particularly for those loans under the $484K limit. Further, there are special programs offering as little as 3% down for first-time homebuyers, making it more affordable for many homebuyers. And, the conforming loans may be coupled with down payment assistance programs to get up to 100% financing.
These limits generally translate for FHA loan limits, as well as VA loans; but they have not announced their new limits yet.