The City of Charlottetown is seeing an unprecedented demand for grant money to improve heritage properties.
Eligible homeowners can request up to $5,000 for a heritage property renovation, depending on the project. Heritage committee chair Coun. Rob Lantz said the $47,000 set aside for heritage renovation grants ran out earlier than ever this year.
Lantz speculates there could be a couple of reasons for the increased interest in heritage renovations, starting with a shortage of vacant land for new developments.
"I think we're seeing pressure where people are seeing the value in restoring older homes rather than building new," he said.
"It's just a trend that we saw over the last few years and it's just starting to accelerate."
Another factor that could be affecting this year in particular is the announced introduction of the HST in April. Builders believe renovations will be more expensive once the new tax is adopted.
"HST … will impose an extra cost, I think, on people doing these kinds of renovations," said Lantz.
"We've seen a bit of a rush on that front as well."
The city's heritage committee is asking for an additional $25,000 from the city to meet the increased demand for grant money.