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Today in property: auction clearances back up, rate cut likely, construction jobs bullish

Sydney had the highest auction clearance rate of any capital over the weekend, scoring 57.1 per cent across 329 auctions. Good percentages, not so good volumes: less than half the number of auctions were held last weekend compared to the week before Easter.

Word on the street is that with inflation sitting at zero, the housing market could get the shot in the arm it needs if the Reserve Bank cuts rates ASAP - as this blow-by-blow of the week that was makes a case for. Investment bank, Citi has suggested that instead of slashing rates, we need more "Helicopter Money": government handouts "financed by a permanent increase in RBA money supply."

Low rates will cause problems for savers, which can't be good for people trying to save a deposit, for example. If the AFR's Jonathan Shapiro is right, they won't have to save as much; he's citing analysis from NAB today as evidence that prices in Sydney and Melbourne have further to fall.

The RBA's confusion over the inconsistency between job and economic growth may be sorting itself out, with a big decline in online job ads last month suggesting we're being frogmarched toward higher unemployment. This may be less of a problem for housing construction workers than initially thought however; while new apartment starts slumped more than 26 per cent in the December quarter, it is reckoned infrastructure project growth will provide jobs to most caught short.

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