Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Joe Biden Underwater on Mortgage? [Updated - Probably Not]

    Vice President Joe Biden released a financial disclosure form that appears to show he is dramatically underwater with a mortgage he has on his Wilmington property.  The only real estate listed on his form (page 6) says "J - Rental Property (residential), Wilmington, DE" and the value range checked off is $100,001 - $250,000.
    His liabilities, on the other hand (page 8,) lists a Home Equity LOC (line of credit) in the range of $100,001-$250,000.  In addition, on page 9, the Home Equity LOC is listed again, but with a range of $15,001 - $50,000, and a mortgage of $500,001 - $1,000,000 is listed as "Mortgage on Principal Residence (including rental property.)
    The property then is worth a maximum of $250,000 (which frankly, is hard to believe [UPDATE: Most likely this is the value of only the portion of the residence that is rented],) but the Vice-President appears to owe more than $600,000 in mortgage and line of credit debt.  Can this possibly be accurate?  If so, the President hasn't had far to go when looking for homeowners hurt by the housing crisis.

UPDATE:  Apparently, due to a quirk in the recently enacted STOCK act, "With the annual filings in May, 2012, mortgages on lawmakers' personal residences, which were previously only disclosed if the house produced income, will now be reported in all cases."  However, the value of the primary residence apparently is still not required to be listed on the form.  I don't know the reason for this oddity, but it greatly reduces the chance that the Vice-President is actually underwater despite the impression created by the financial disclosure form.  However, a new question arises: Why would the rules mandate the inclusion of a liability when the corresponding asset remains unlisted?

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