Brunswick County as a whole saw a 4.4% increase, bringing its population to 144,215. The area is actually the second fastest growing county in the state behind Currituck County, which grew by 4.5% to 29,653 residents. During that time Brunswick County built more total homes than more populous counties like New Hanover and Durham. Only Wake and Mecklenburg counties built more total homes, adding more than 12,000 and 10,000 units respectively. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau showed signs of recent nationwide trends continuing, like population decreases in major metropolitan centers and population gains in the south and west of the U.S. Seven of the top 15 fastest growing cities in the country were in the south.
New Master-planned Development in the Works
Growth in Brunswick County is old news. But the latest land grabs, approvals and construction starts mark a new era of even stronger development activity, heightened by a confluence of pandemic-related and local factors. The county and municipalities within it issued 4,057 single-family building permits – a whopping 42% jump from 2020, far outpacing the year-over-year rate of change nationally (13%) and statewide (14%), according to data compiled by Cape Fear Realtors (CFR) and the Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association (WCFHBA). Development approvals are skyrocketing: The county’s planning department saw a 572% increase between fiscal years 2020 and 2021 by approving 8,864 new residential units within major subdivisions and planned developments. Approvals don’t mean each unit gets built, but they offer a glimpse of what’s ahead.