I live in an area of the United States where it would be very difficult to get a home for less than the $417,000 conforming loan limit. Unfortunately, jumbo loans seem to have a hard 20% downpayment requirement and higher interest rates (around half a percentage point higher, from what I've seen) than conforming loans.
But one thing I haven't been able to clarify is whether the $417k limit is on the price of the home or the amount to be borrowed. In other words, if the home is $450k and I put down $45k, the size of the loan is only $405k. Do I then have a conforming loan (because the amount to be borrowed is lower than $417k), or a jumbo loan (because the price of the property exceeds $417k)?
If it's the former, then is it always possible to avoid getting a jumbo by simply putting enough money down so that the loan amount falls below the limit, turning that loan into a conforming loan?