Wake County Continues To Grow By Leaps, Bounds
Posted March 24, 2005 1:20 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Sixty-five people move into Wake County every day, which equates to adding a town the size of Cary every five years. Despite a slumping economy over the last few years, statistics show Wake County continues to thrive.
Rolesville received 32 requests for residential building permits in the first two months of 2005 compared to just five in January and February of 2004. Holly Springs saw a rise from 75 in 2004 to 120 this year. Cary's requests also jumped from 96 requests to 193 within a two-month period.
Anyway you measure it, there are a lot of houses going up in Wake County. So far this year, there has been an 18 percent increase in residential building permits. Developer John Myers is selling one house a day in two of his new communities.
"Certainly if it continues at this pace, it will be a record year," he said.
Mike Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, said Wake County is picking up where it left off in the late 1990s. Interest rates remain low and job growth is high. Two years ago, the metro area added just 3,000 new jobs. There were almost six times that many added last year.
"There is almost a one-to-one correspondence between job growth and residential construction, so I think that's a good indicator that the economy is back and growing," he said.
Business leaders said it is time to get creative and find a way to invest in the infrastructure needed to support Wake County's expansion.
"We need to get voter approval for local option funding to allow us to solve specific problems here and now rather than waiting for the state to solve issues," said Harvey Schmitt, president of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.
Economists believe another indicator of growth can be measured with the amount of new utility customers. Progress Energy said in the Triangle, there were 12,000 new customers last year.