Unexpectedly Intriguing!
May 13, 2010

Calculated Risk: Percent Homeowners with Negative Mortgage Equity by State, Q1 2010 Calculated Risk reported earlier this week that 11.2 million properties in the United States were in negative equity territory as of the first quarter of 2010, meaning that their current estimated value is less than that recorded when their owner's mortgages were written. Our lead chart today, borrowed from CR, shows the state by state breakdown by the percentage of homeowners "underwater" on their mortgages, or nearly so.

We wondered if United States President Barack Obama was among them.

To find out, we went back into our previous analysis of the value of the President's primary residence in Chicago, Illinois, and updated it using the Federal Housing Finance Agency's latest revised data for how housing prices have changed in the Chicago metropolitan area over time. (Note: the agency has changed its name since our previous analysis - it was known as the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight back in October 2008.)

Using that revised and updated data, we found that the value of President Barack Obama's Chicago house is nearly $500,000 underwater compared to the amount he paid for it back in the second quarter of 2005.

Estimated Value of Primary Obama Residence, 2000-Q3 Through 2009-Q4 Of course, that figure isn't helped by the fact that he overpaid nearly $220,000 for it at the time when he bought it. Using the FHFA's housing price change data and the previous owner's purchase price of $1,237,500 back in the third quarter of 2000, we've projected that the home's value was approximately $1,430,000 in the second quarter of 2005, far below the $1,650,000 price Obama negotiated for it.

We note that then Senator-elect Barack Obama's first two offers for the house of $1,300,000 and $1,500,000 were consistent with this estimated value, as well as the value of similar properties in close proximity to the house.

If accurately reported at the time, this housing transaction would have provided the clearest indication that American voters would have had before the 2008 election of then presidential candidate Barack Obama's tendency for extremely wasteful spending where his own finances were concerned, a trait we now confirm also applies to the nation's public finances.

As of the end of 2009, that original property's value would be about $1,172,000, indicating that President Obama is underwater on the house to the tune of roughly $478,000.

Previously on Political Calculations

How Much Was Obama's House Really Worth When He Bought It?

We take you through the data for how we nailed down the value of Barack Obama's house in Chicago at the time he bought it.

How Much Is Barack Obama's House Worth Today?

We find, using the value of a comparable property sold in August 2008, that 1.43 million seems to be right after accounting for the luxury features his house incorporates! That doesn't include the additional strip of land he bought in January 2006, but turns out to be amazingly close to what we found using projecting data forward from the past. We've got the values bookended!

Return to the Rezko Lot

New information about the appraised value of the "Rezko Lot" led us to revisit our analysis of the transactions involving this lot and 2008 Democratic party presidential candidate Barack Obama we had originally presented in The House That Obama Bought

The House That Obama Bought

Now obsolete! Here, using that data and assumptions that we have replaced with new information, we showed that at a minimum, 2008 Democratic Party presidential nominee and current Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) paid $360,738 more than his house in Chicago was worth in 2005. At a maximum, he overpaid by as much as $468,502 for the property where his family now resides.

Barack Obama's Big Mac Attack

Our tongue-in-cheek look into the negotiations and transactions surrounding Senator Obama's purchase of his current home - kind of a fun introduction to the relative valuations involved, all in the context of a trip to McDonald's! Remarkably, even though we've redone all our calculations, this post stands the test of time!

Does Senator Joe Biden Have a House Problem? (Part 1)

We looked into suggestions that Senator Biden unduly benefited from the purchase of the property where he built his current home. We introduced our analytical method for projecting the value of real estate properties in this post.

Does Senator Joe Biden Have a House Problem? (Part 2)

Here, we looked into long-standing allegations that have dogged Senator Biden regarding whether or not he unduly profited from the sale of his previous home in 1996. We originally couldn't make a determination, but thanks to one of our intrepid readers, we were able to find that he did not. Also, where we first built a tool to do the math!

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