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How much house can I afford to buy in New Jersey, when using a mortgage loan?

This is one of the most common questions among home buyers in the state. Here are some things to keep in mind when establishing a budget and shopping for a home in New Jersey.

How Much House Can You Afford in New Jersey?

There are several factors to consider when deciding how much house you can afford to buy. For most buyers, mortgage financing plays an important role here. So the size of the loan you qualify for can obviously influence how much house you can buy. And that brings up the debt-to-income ratio.

Banks and mortgage companies use something known as the debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, as one of the factors in determining how much a person can borrow. So this ratio can affect your buying power as well.

Many financial advisors recommend that a person’s total debt payments (including the mortgage loan and all other recurring debts) should be no higher than 36% of gross income. But this is just a general rule doesn’t apply to all situations. Some people are capable of managing a higher level of debt.

That’s why most mortgage programs available in New Jersey today set the bar somewhere around 43%, for the total debt-to-income ratio — or even 50% in some cases.

Loan Limits Play a Role As Well

Your borrowing capacity could also be affected by the maximum size limits for the mortgage program you ...


This is the second in a two-part tutorial that explains the different types of mortgage loans in New Jersey. Last time, we looked at the differences between fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages. This article explains the key differences between FHA and conventional home loans in New Jersey.

The primary difference between conventional and FHA loans has to do with insurance backing:

  • FHA loans are insured by the government, through the Federal Housing Administration. This insurance protects mortgage lenders from losses resulting from borrower default. But the government backing benefits borrowers as well, as we will discuss in a moment.
  • Conventional loans are originated (and sometimes insured) solely within the private sector. Unlike FHA loans, the government does not insure or guarantee these mortgage products against losses. So you can think of a New Jersey conventional loan as a “non-government-backed” mortgage option.

Advantages of FHA Home Loans in New Jersey

The FHA loan program is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). According to current HUD guidelines, borrowers who use this mortgage program can make a down payment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price or the appraised value.

This is one of the primary advantages to using an FHA loan when buying a house in New Jersey. It allows you to make a relatively low down payment / ...


The tax plan created by some members of Congress, and endorsed by the president, could change the way mortgage interest deductions work in New Jersey and across the nation. Here’s an update on the current rules for mortgage interest deductions in New Jersey, and the proposals that could potentially alter them in 2018.

Mortgage Interest Deductions in New Jersey: A Popular Tax Break

Mortgage interest deductions are a hot topic among home buyers and homeowners in New Jersey, and it’s easy to understand why. The average homeowner could save thousands of dollars per year by using a mortgage interest deduction. Nationally, they add up to approximately $70 billion per year, according to recent reports.

They are essentially a form of subsidy, through which homeowners can file a tax deduction for the interest they pay on their home mortgage loans.

Under the current tax law, homeowners in New Jersey and nationwide are allowed to claim a deduction for mortgage interest paid. These deductions can be applied to a principal residence as well as one additional residence. They are typically capped at $1 million for the first mortgage, and $100,000 on a second mortgage.

Change Could Reduce Number of Homeowners Who Benefit

The tax reform package supported by President Trump could change how mortgage interest deductions work in New Jersey, which is why some groups are opposing the change.

The Republican-sponsored bill would essentially cut ...


Home buyers in more expensive real estate markets, like some in New Jersey, often have to use jumbo mortgage loans when buying a house. Which begs the question: What is considered a jumbo loan in New Jersey? What’s the threshold or limit?

Depending on the county where you plan to buy a home, a jumbo loan might be anything above $424,100 or $636,150. See the next section for a county-by-county breakdown.

What Is a Jumbo Loan in New Jersey?

By definition, a jumbo loan is when the amount being borrowed exceeds the conforming loan limits used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These limits are established by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA0, which regulates Fannie and Freddie.

Loan limits are based on median home values, which means they can vary from one county and region to the next. When a person borrows more than these limits, it is considered to be a jumbo mortgage product.

So let’s get specific. What is considered a jumbo loan in New Jersey? Depending on where you live, the conforming limit for your county is either $424,100 for $636,150 (as of 2017). So a jumbo mortgage would be anything above those amounts. These are referred to as the “floor” and “ceiling” limits.

Here’s how it breaks down by county:

  • Floor areas: The conforming loan limit is $424,100 in the following counties: Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Salem and ...

This might come as a surprise to many borrowers. The latest industry reports showed that jumbo loan rates in New Jersey and nationwide were lower, on average, than the rates for smaller conforming mortgage loans.

In New Jersey’s pricier real estate markets, like those within the New York City metropolitan area, home buyers often have to use jumbo mortgage loans to finance their purchases. A jumbo loan is one that exceeds the conforming loan limits established by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Because there’s a higher amount being borrowed, you might think jumbo loan rates in New Jersey would automatically be higher than those assigned to smaller loans. But that’s not always the case. In fact, the opposite is frequently true.

New Jersey Jumbo Loan Rates Lower Than Conforming?

For many years, jumbo loans did in fact have higher average mortgage rates than their smaller conforming counterparts. But we saw a reversal of that trend a few years ago.

The latest Weekly Application Survey conducted by the MBA revealed a continuation of this seemingly counterintuitive trend. Mortgage rates for jumbo loans in New Jersey and nationwide were once again lower than the average rates assigned to smaller conforming loans.

Here are some trends identified in the MBA’s report from October 25, 2017:

  • Conforming: The average mortgage interest rate assigned to 30-year fixed home loans ...

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