Jumbo loan amounts are those that exceed $424,100, and are available on primary or second homes.
There was a time when jumbo mortgages were hard to come by and if you could get them, the rate was quite a bit higher than the non-jumbo mortgages. The down payment requirements had a high minimum at that time. The jumbo market has changed recently and rates have come down more in comparison with the conforming loan interest rates. Also, the down payment requirements have eased and it is possible to have less than a standard percentage down in some instances.
A couple of items that are relied on heavily in the underwriting of jumbo loans are credit scores and reserves. If you are looking to put less down, credit scores need to be excellent. Also, banks are looking for more in reserves than they would with a conforming loan. Typically they are looking for at least 6 months of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance still left in your accounts after the down payment and closing costs.