Any savvy U.S. consumer knows that fixed interest rates have been historically low, below 4 percent for purchases and refinancing for several months — and even reached a record low in late 2012 when the 30-year fixed hit 3.31 percent.
So why hasn’t President Obama and Mrs. Obama refinanced their high-rate, 30-year mortgage since 2005?
The question remains unanswered and just came to light as the Obamas released their annual financial disclosure report on Friday.
The Obamas are wasting thousands of dollars each year on a mortgage with a 5.625 percent interest. The loan is tied to their Chicago home, and they owe between $500,001 and $1,000,000 on the note.
A typical annual interest rate this week for a 30-year ‘jumbo’ loan, of the type that services high-value homes like the Obamas’, is 3.82 percent, according to BankRate.com.
If you assume only a half-million dollar loan, the Obamas are paying $2,879 per month on their home. They could be paying $2,335.
That means they are overpaying in interest payments at least $6,500 per year, but likely even more. Mind you, the First Family doesn’t feel the strain of losing that much in interest. The Obamas own somewhere between $1 million and $5 million in U.S. Treasury notes.
The Obamas claimed assets between $1.9 million and $6.9 million last year. They can probably pay off the loan. It is their only debt.
The lack of mortgage savviness belies their smart, although conservative, investment choices. Mr. Obama and his wife also had between $200,000 and $400,000 in four 529 college savings plans — the education savings vehicle that permits families to save money tax free for college and other educational expenses.