President Obama likes to extol the virtues of average Americans taking advantage of historic low mortgage rates, but so far he has resisted refinancing his 6,000-foot house in Kenwood district of Chicago, according to his latest financial disclosure report released Wednesday.
The Obamas purchased the home for $1.68 million in June 2005, with an original loan amount of $1.3 million and an interest rate of 5.625 percent, according to previous reports.
The president has paid down the loan significantly over the last eight years, listing a remaining loan balance ranging between $500,000 and $1 million on his latest disclosure form.
And, even though the president has urged homeowners to help their own bottom lines and the economy by refinancing at lower rates – and pushed for a series of laws that make it easier for homeowners to do, Mr. Obama is still paying the original 5.625 percent mortgage rate, which is much higher than what banks now are charging.
The Obamas likely have a jumbo loan rate because the initial mortgage was more than $417,000, the limit in Illinois for conforming loans. The average jumbo loan rates right now are hovering around 4 percent nationally.
The financial disclosure report also show that the president has continued to collect royalties from his memoirs, earning between $100,000 and $1 million for “Dreams of My Father” and a children’s book, “Of Thee I Sing.” He also is still taking in royalties — $50,000 to $100,000 — from his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope.”
Mr. Obama’s financial reports also lists up to $6.65 million in assets, including up to $700,000 in retirement funds, up to $5 million in U.S. Treasury notes, and up to $400,000 in college-saving plans.
The Obama’s assets, and those of Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, were disclosed in ethics forms the White House released Wednesday. Ethics laws require all senior executive branch officials and members of Congress to make the disclosures on an annual basis. The forms are not precise, listing assets, income and debt values in broad ranges, rather than specific amounts.
The Bidens reported assets of up to $867,000, excluding the value of their residence, but they also have debts between $740,000 and $1.6 million, including a mortgage and home equity loans totaling between $700,000 and $1.5 million. Other debts include a loan taken against the cash value of life insurance policies with a balance between $15,000 and $50,000 and a line of credit for an unnamed son that Biden co-signed, also listed at between $15,000 and $50,000.