Statistics, it is said, can be made to tell us whatever we want to hear.
And, so it is important to understand that data released by the Homebuilders Association of Raleigh-Wake County should be taken in context.
New housing starts in Wendell and Zebulon – which are grouped together statistically – were up 77 percent in February over the same time last year. That stands in stark contrast to countywide figures which showed a 7 percent drop over the same period.
Eastern Wake County is growing while the rest of the county isn’t? That sounds hard to believe.
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But 77 percent is a relative number. Wendell and Zebulon numbers remained recession-era weak and that meant there was nowhere to go but up. And, in small communities like Wendell and Zebulon, 10 new housing starts can have a huge influence on the percentages.
And in large cities like Raleigh, even a dip of 50 fewer new home starts might barely move the needle.
While we take those numbers with a grain of salt, it is, nevertheless, worthy of celebrating that the slowest-growing part of Wake County led the way at least for a month in 2015.
As time progresses, we are sure leaders in Wendell and Zebulon hope the February numbers become part of a trend and not just a one-time anamoly.
It seems to reason that it could become a trend. One of the drivers behind the February numbers is the start of construction in Wendell Falls, that town’s mega-subdivision. In Zebulon, construction on dormant projects has now resumed and there remains a significant inventory of vacant lots awaiting construction crews.
The promise of growth in these eastern Wake County towns has been long awaited. Maybe now, it’s here to stay. That opens up an array of possibilities for Wendell and Zebulon.
But as we get excited about distinctive jumps in the growth of the region, it’s also important that we plan for it now and be prepared to meet the challenges that growth will bring.