Only investors in Manitoba and Saskatchewan express more positive sentiments about real estate than Ontarians do, suggests a recent Manulife Financial poll. The insurer’s bi-annual Investor Sentiment Index—which is based on results from this national poll—may have fallen three points to +16, its worst performance since the financial crisis, but attitudes towards real estate appear considerably more upbeat.

The latest national index, released this week, is based on potential investors’ perceptions of how advisable it is to invest in a number of asset classes, including stocks and property. Looking just at real estate holdings, the housing-related sub-index rested at a more enthusiastic +47, although like the aggregate, it also tracked three points lower than the last reading in May 2015.

The Investor Sentiment Index is an average of six sub-indexes, and each one deals with a different asset class. To figure out real estate sentiment specifically, the 1,001 respondents aged 25 or older surveyed were asked in December how good a time it was to invest in their own homes (via renovations or increased mortgage payments) or additional properties.

Respondents—these had to be financial decision makers in households earning at least $75,000 and possessing a minimum of $100,000 in investable assets—could either respond by saying very bad, bad, good, very good, or neither. To calculate the index, Manulife then added together the percentages of positive answers and subtracted them from the negatives, excluding those responses that didn’t fall into either camp.

An index of 0 in any category would mean that respondents’ sentiments were split evenly between those who think now is a good time to invest and those who think otherwise.

Both Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the provinces with the highest housing sentiment ratings, achieved scores of +56. In third place, Ontario registered a real estate index of +53. The province least sold on real estate investment was Quebec, where the index was +37.

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