Australian shares made early gains after weak US economic indicators further reduced expectations of a rate hike but drifted lower for the afternoon trading session. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.2 per cent higher at 5,424.2. Labour productivity grew at its fastest pace in seven years in the first half of 2016, which is good news if you're not worried by slow employment growth. Gross domestic product (GDP) per hour worked, the broadest measure of labour productivity, rose 2.1 per cent in the six months to June, according to the national accounts from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In housing news, the construction industry experienced a downturn in August, with new figures showing a steep fall in housing activity that was only partially offset by growth in apartment building, commercial construction and engineering construction.

What does this mean for you?

If you're interested in building a property portfolio, there are a number of key points to consider:

1. More of your time and involvement will be needed to manage a portfolio of smaller properties than a single high-value property, however, if something goes wrong, all of your eggs are not in one basket.
2. If you're interested in residential properties, remember that if you buy a property that's within 10%-20% of the median price for the area, it means that 80% of the population can afford to rent it. As an investor, you need to make sure your rental income is as secure as possible.