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The jumbo mortgage is back

A luxury home is seen for sale in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California.

As the housing market picks up and banks are increasingly willing to lend, more homebuyers are applying for mortgages. That includes jumbo mortgages -- loans above $625,000 in expensive markets like the Bay Area and New York. These loans are too big to be backed by Fannie and Freddie. But to get a jumbo loan you're going to need some very good credit.

Let's say, for example, you want to buy a million dollar home -- not extravagant in a region like Silicon Valley -- but you don't have all that money lying around. You're going to need a jumbo loan. To qualify, you will probably have to put down a down payment of at least 30 percent, and then there's your credit score.

"You're looking at credit scores above 750, some lenders have an 800 credit score minimum" says Guy Cecala, publisher of the trade journal Inside Mortgage Finance. Despite the tight credit market and high lending standards, Cecala says there has been a noticeable surge in jumbo lending.

"In fact, 2012 was the highest level in terms of dollar amount of jumbo loans and probably number of jumbo loans since 2007," he says.

Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at Bankrate, says banks generally tend to view jumbo mortgage borrowers as "a very desirable customer because they're often interested in other products and services offered by the bank."

Services like retirement and investment accounts -- and those borrowers tend to have money to spend.

About the author

David Weinberg is a general assignment reporter at Marketplace.
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