DEFINITION of 'Conforming Loan'

A mortgage that is equal to or less than the dollar amount established by the conforming loan limit set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's Federal regulator, The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) and meets the funding criteria of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

BREAKING DOWN 'Conforming Loan'

The term "conforming" is most often used when speaking specifically about a mortgage amount; however, the terms "conforming" and "conventional" are frequently used interchangeably. Mortgages that exceed the conforming loan limit are classified as non-conforming or jumbo mortgages.

OFHEO, which sets the conforming loan limit on an annual basis, has regulatory oversight to ensure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fulfill their charters and missions of promoting homeownership for lower income and middle class Americans. OFHEO uses the October to October percentage increase/decrease in average housing prices in the Monthly Interest Rate Survey of the Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB) to adjust the conforming loan limits for the subsequent year.

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