This North Carolina town’s population has grown 46% in the last year


WENDELL, N.C. (WNCN) — As Wake County continues to rank as one of the fastest-growing counties in the country, some of its outlying communities, like Wendell, are seeing meteoric growth.

Wendell Planning Commissioner Bryan Coates says the town issued 1,291 permits for single-family homes in the last fiscal year, which concluded on June 30. That’s up from 636 in the previous fiscal year.

“We’re seeing that sprawl a little bit, for lack of a better word,” said realtor Gretchen Coley, the founder of the Coley Group.

New housing developments are popping up across the growing town. It’s welcome news for local business owners.

“We’re hoping that we can just continue to grow,” said Katie Carter, co-owner of Carter’s Baking Company in downtown Wendell.

Carter and her family opened their bakery just days before the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has taken a lot of support from the community, which has been really fantastic and we do appreciate that,” she said. “If we could just get more people to find out about us, we can continue to grow, which helps all the other businesses grow.”

Carter is hopeful about the continued growth of her business.

The 2020 Census counted 9,793 people living in Wendell. That number shot up to 14,400 in the Census Bureau’s July 2023 estimate, a 46.5% increase. Coates says the town is estimating a population just north of 31,000 by 2030.

“Eastern Wake County is really in demand right now,” Coley said.

One big factor is price. According to Triangle Multiple Listing Services, the median sales price for a home in Wake County is close to $510,000, a 2% increase in the last year. In Wendell, it’s $375,000, a nearly 10% drop.

“You’ve got a significant delta there that can really someone get into a home as a first-time homebuyer,” Coley said.

Coley says it’s not just Wendell, but a theme across Eastern Wake and into Johnston County.

“If you’re in the market and you’re looking for a first home, you’re looking for a great investment, these are places that you should be looking in,” she said.

Coley believes the connectivity to Raleigh along the US-64 and Interstate 87 is another big reason for the area’s surge in popularity. With NCDOT’s Complete 540 project expected to wrap up in 2028, Coley thinks the increased accessibility for outlying communities will fuel continued growth.

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