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Building starts to boom again in Raleigh

Posted November 3, 2014
Updated November 4, 2014

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— Signs of economic progress can be seen and heard at construction sites across the Raleigh.

Nearly 9,000 residential and business construction permits were issued in the city in 2007, but the number of permits dropped to 5,127 two years later as the nationwide recession took hold.

Since then, permit requests have steadily climbed, to the 6,638 in the fiscal year that ended in June. Curtis Willis, Raleigh's deputy director of inspections, estimated the 2013-14 permits had a total value of about $1.1 billion, compared with $1.8 billion in 2007.

"We’re seeing construction moving at a very brisk pace," Willis said. "If you drive around Raleigh, you’ll see the tower cranes and how much construction is going on. It’s a lot."

Some of the projects were put on hold during the recession that he said are finally getting off the ground – sometimes with a different developer at the helm.

Residential permits are also up, he said, as families revisit remodeling projects that were planned several years ago.

The city is doing 500 to 600 inspections daily – an annual rate of about 105,000 – and the Planning and Development Department plans to ask the Raleigh City Council for money to hire more inspectors in the 2015-16 budget, Willis said.

North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden said the building boom indicates developers have more confidence in the economy and more cash in their wallets.

"You don’t sink millions of dollars into construction if you don’t think you’ll get the payoff in the long run," Walden said.

The Triangle has "the model for the 21st century economy," he said, with a mix of technology and health care companies and area universities churning out trained workers that attract more businesses.

"This is one of the most vibrant economies, here in the Triangle, in the country," he said.

Walden predicted that Raleigh will easily eclipse pre-recession levels for building in the near future.

"The downturn in the real estate market was one for the ages. It’s taken a long while to dig our way out. We are headed up," he said. "We’ll exceed that record. It may not be next year, but it could certainly be in the next five years."

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  • ronzo Nov 4, 2014

    5000 to 6000 inspections daily--I doubt it!

    and a year to yet to 105,000

    Math?? What do they do the other 32 weeks?

  • btneast Nov 4, 2014

    Or that others don't understand, that if there weren't illegals being paid at under-the-table rates, There probably are some contractors here and there that do that, but it is much harder to do than many realize. Anyone you pay more than $600.00/year to has to have a 1099 issued. With computerized records, its pretty hard to hide paying people, and it will land you in big trouble. You can pay the occasional guy here and there with cash, but not a whole labor force. Immigrant labor is not cheap people...the draw is they work hard and fast with little to no complaints. They end up costing less because they get the job done quickly.

  • papasan Nov 4, 2014

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    That and welfare is too high to able bodied people that would rather sit on their bottom and feed at the govt trough than work. Reduce welfare and stop paying able people that can work and people will take those jobs. IMHO if some one is able to work and refuses to, or is too lazy then I have no sympathy if they cannot eat. Our government is rewarding laziness.

  • Dean Logan Nov 4, 2014
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    Or that others don't understand, that if there weren't illegals being paid at under-the-table rates, then wages would increase for those jobs.

  • xylem01 Nov 4, 2014

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    So, think about what that means.......

  • itsnotmeiswear Nov 4, 2014

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    The problem is still pervasive in the homebuilding industry's labor force, but the larger contractors that I have dealt with are very serious about E-verify, background checks, and safety training. In competitive markets like the RTP area, the potential overhead cost of ignoring those areas will keep you from getting the next job.

  • Knightwolf Nov 4, 2014

    An annual rate of 105,000 inspections divided by 5,000 inspections daily means that the inspectors only worked 21 days all year. What's with that? Somethings not right with the numbers.

  • btneast Nov 4, 2014

    How many US citizens want those jobs, or are qualified for them? Probably not many.

    That's what so many fail to understand. Companies hire who they can find to do the job well, and in a timely manner. Companies don't go out searching for non U.S. citizens....who has time for that?

  • Progressiveredneck Nov 4, 2014

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    You might be right, many of these jobs here require education- and the lack of Americans to fill them is daunting.

  • lewiskr45 Nov 4, 2014

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    How many US citizens want those jobs, or are qualified for them? Probably not many.

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