Almost one-third of Canadians believe it is a bad time to purchase a house, according to the latest Manulife Investor Sentiment Index released today.

Twenty-nine per cent of respondents think it is a bad time to purchase a house, an increase of 6 per cent from six months ago, according to the latest Manulife Investor Sentiment Index released March 6.

“Lack of affordable options (68 per cent) and market volatility (31 per cent) are the top reasons for negative sentiment on housing,” says the survey report.

Canadians believe mortgage interest rates will increase

The survey also found 77 per cent of Canadians believe mortgage interest rates will increase this year. Thirty-seven per cent of respondents believe rates should be lowered, particularly in Quebec and the Maritime provinces. Ontarians, on the other hand, are more likely to think variable mortgage rates are too low.

Confidence rises for balanced funds

Balanced mutual funds, which combine stock and bond investments, stood out when it comes to investor confidence gains. Since December 2015, confidence in balanced funds has risen 10 per cent to reach 26 per cent on the index. For the balanced fund category, this is the highest confidence result since 2011.

Increases for nearly all investment vehicles

Kevin Headland, Senior Investment Strategist, Manulife, says year-over-year results, show that that investor confidence has increased for nearly all investment vehicles. “The increased confidence in balanced mutual funds is indicative of investors’ need for growth while balancing their uncertainty in the markets,” he says.

The index also found Canadians’ confidence in stocks and investing in their homes is on the rise, reaching 13 and 45 per cent respectively on the iIndex. However, the survey found that investors are slightly less confident about investment properties, cash, and fixed income, at 17, 15 and 9 per cent respectively.