State home builders and homeownership advocates filled the North Statehouse lawn today to make their point to state and national leaders that the housing sector of the state is hurting. Organizers took advantage of the national media presence on hand for the first-in-the-South GOP presidential primary — and the participation of candidate Newt Gingrich.
The event was also a way to highlight the latest poll by the National Association of Homebuilders which indicates that home ownership is a priority for Americans.
“The survey underscores that South Carolina voters believe homeownership is a core value that anchors the middle class and they oppose efforts to eliminate or reduce the mortgage interest deduction and to make it more difficult for creditworthy home buyers to obtain affordable financing,” said Bob Nielsen, NAHB president.
Congressman James Clyburn, the state’s leading Democrat, spoke and left before Gingrich arrived. Gingrich drew the free media presence that participants had hoped for.
This was the first truly bipartisan, cross-cultural crowd Gingrich has addressed in SC this campaign season. For the first half of his address, he talked about the importance of being able to own a home.
AUDIO: Gingrich speaks about homeownership
It was when he reverted to his campaign points that he put off some of the listeners.
Bernice G. Scott from Hopkins, an Obama supporter, brought about 100 people out for the homeowner’s rally. She said she disagreed with Gingrich’s comment that the housing downturn happened in 2008.
“The bottom did not drop out in the last three years or four years, it was the last 12 years,” said Scott. “I came for the homebuilders…but I thought I would listen to him. He was doing OK with housing and then he started talking about Obamacare. There are a lot of people here that need that health care.