In a sign that new home construction activity in the Triangle could finally be picking up, the number of single-family building permits issued in Wake County increased 26 percent in the first quarter.
There were 967 permits issued in the first three months of the year in Wake, up from 768 during the same period in 2011, according to data compiled by the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County.
Holly Springs and Garner posted the largest percentage increases.
Holly Springs issued 98 percents compared to 56 during the first quarter of 2011, a 75 percent increase. Garner's permit activity jumped 480 percent, from 5 to 29.
Permit activity declined 16 percent in Cary and was up 45 percent in Raleigh. Apex was also a big gainer with a 42 percent increase.
As the number of both new and existing homes has continued to drop in the Triangle, real estate professionals have been waiting for it to correspond to an uptick in new home construction.
There were just 1,603 new homes on the market in March in Wake, Durham, Orange and Johnston counties, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show. That was down 27 percent from the same period a year ago and off 40 percent from two years ago.
New home construction has historically been a major source of employment in the Triangle, and the lack of activity has made it harder to bring down the unemployment rate.