WASHINGTON - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced Tuesday that they will increase the single-family conforming mortgage loan limit on loans they will buy, to $275,000 next year.

Limits for multiunit loans will rise to $351,950 for two-family loans, $425,400 for three-family loans, and $528,700 for four-family loans.

In addition, the conforming-loan limit for second mortgages will rise to $137,500 in the contiguous United States and to $206,250 in Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where loan limits on first mortgages are also about 50% higher.

In anticipation of the higher limits, which are recalculated each year by the Federal Housing Finance Board, many lenders, such as Wells Fargo Home Mortgage of Des Moines and Countrywide Credit Industries Inc. of Calabasas, Calif., have been originating and buying loans of up to $275,000 for most of November.

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