Building starts to boom again in Raleigh
Posted November 3, 2014
Updated November 4, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — 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."