TIP: national auction clearance tops 70pc, construction tipped to fall further, wages and jobs

Cold winds didn't stop auctions heating up again over the weekend


CoreLogic's figures show a national preliminary auction clearance of 70.4 per cent, which is a relatively spectacular showing across the board. Sydney's rate jumped to 81.2 per cent, a close to 10 point improvement on the previous week; Melbourne's jumped more than two points to reach 73.2 per cent.


All this has got the pundits excited for spring. SQM Research analyst Louis Christopher reckons clearance rates are going to hold coming into prime selling season.


That's the word on existing stock. It doesn't look quite as rosy when we look at the outlook for new construction.


In releasing June quarter financial results, James Hardie Industries chief Jack Truong reckoned new home construction will continue to fall by "high single digit" percentage before the sector starts to recover. His group's takings had fallen by 17 per cent in the June quarter for new-build homes and by 1 per cent for renovations.


Mr Truong's sentiment has been backed up by Caesarstone, Electrolux and HeidelbergCement, each of whom have pointed to softening new home construction in Australia in their June quarter results.


It's going to be a big week for economic forecasting.


This week, ABS updates on job numbers and wage growth are due to be released. These are two of the key metrics used by the Reserve Bank when determining movement of official interest rates.


RBA head, Dr Philip Lowe fronted the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics last Friday. He told them that if unemployment rises and inflation remains weak, the bank will have to cut rates again.


In real terms, low job growth and wage stagnation mean less spending. Not that you would've picked that from the crowds at my local Westfield on the weekend, but bigger purchases - new cars, for example - are on the skids.


Challenger financial institution, ME Bank has released its first ME Household Financial Comfort Report. It said financial comfort across most of the 11 drivers that make up the index fell over the past six months. The report said high costs of necessities and lack of savings have combined to damage consumer sentiment.


All this could make for excellent timing for fractional property investment platforms like CoVESTA and its newly-launched challenger, Resifund, which got a run on TV news over the weekend. A cheeky grand to buy in to a syndicate owning a property must sound good on paper for people looking to make a dollar stretch further.