• Bloomberg Nanos index remains at highest since December
  • Flat reading on jobs tempers optimism on real estate

The number of Canadians with an upbeat view of the housing market has increased to the highest in 18 months, weekly polling shows.

The share of respondents who believe local housing prices will rise in the next six months increased to 39.4 percent in the week ended April 15, according to polling by Nanos Research Group, from 38.3 percent the previous week. The share of respondents who see lower prices declined to 16.6 percent from 17.1 percent, the lowest since November.

It’s another sign that Canada’s real estate market -- the strongest part of the economy through a commodity slump -- remains resilient and is offsetting weakness elsewhere. Lingering damage of crude oil prices that have fallen to about $40 from more than $100 in mid-2014 show up in questions on jobs and personal finances.

“Forward looking views on real estate and the strength of the Canadian economy are noticeably above the 2016 average for those two measures,” Nik Nanos, head of Nanos Research Group, said in a statement. “This is in contrast to perceptions related to job security and personal finances which are flat for 2016.”

Nanos Research conducts weekly polling of 250 people based on their economic outlook, personal finances, real estate expectations and job security, creating a four-week rolling average of 1,000 respondents.

The Bloomberg Nanos Consumer Confidence Index, a gauge built from the survey responses, climbed to 55.9 from 55 in the week ending April 15, the highest since the first week of December.

The share of Canadians who say their jobs are at least somewhat secure stood at 67.6 percent last week, little changed from a week earlier. That gauge has averaged 68.2 percent in 2016.

On personal finances, only 12.7 percent say they are better off financially over the past year. While slightly up from last week’s 12.7 percent, that gauge has been depressed in recent weeks from historical averages.

Those projecting a stronger economy in six months rose to 26.2 percent, up from 25.4 percent in the prior week and the highest since mid-November. That reading followed Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s upgrade on Wednesday to his 2016 growth forecast on the strength of expanded government spending.

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