The cap on the size of mortgages that government-sponsored enterprises can guarantee will remain unchanged at the start of 2014.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue to back home loans of up to $417,000 in most areas of the United States, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a press release Tuesday. Edward DeMarco, the acting director of FHFA, said in October that the agency would refrain from lowering conforming loan limits until next spring at the earliest.

The decision to keep loan limits at their current level was motivated in part by the desire to give the mortgage industry time to adjust to a wave of new mortgage rules, DeMarco said in October. He added that the agency would offer at least six months' advance notice before making changes to the loan limit.

The private mortgage industry had lobbied against rumored changes to the ceiling on government-backed loans in recent months, arguing that doing so would reduce creditworthy homeowners' access to mortgages. "While there has been some return of private lending without the benefit of a federal guarantee, it remains limited and available only to the most highly qualified borrowers," the National Association of Realtors wrote in September to DeMarco.

DeMarco addressed these concerns in October, noting that "any change would be measured and gradual so as not to disrupt markets."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.