Economy

Mortgage stress a myth… SMS date doctor… Social networks will reach plateau

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Middle class mortgage stress is a myth

Housing affordability is undoubtedly an issue for many, but a new study from The Australia Institute claims that mortgage stress in the middle class is over-stated.

Executive director Clive Hamilton says that few typical Australian families were struggling financially – most were doing very well, according to his research.

In fact, only about a third of middle class families actually have a mortgage and only 8% have a mortgage over $200,000. And the median disposable income for the typical Australian family today is almost $70,000, 43% higher than the median income for all households.

The findings in the report, The State of the Australian Middle Class, come from analysis of data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, and new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A typical family is defined as a couple with at least one dependent child and headed by someone of prime working age. Such families make up 41% of the population.

“There is considerable evidence that middle-class Australians focus not on what they have but on the gap between what they have and what they want, creating a sense of material deprivation in a time of plenty,” Hamilton says.

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Dating advice by text message

Dating can be a bit of a tricky enterprise – someone who seems perfectly nice may, once you get to know them a little better, prove to be a bad egg.

A new website and SMS service has started up to assist in negotiating the dating minefield. According to CNet, the PlayerBlock website allows users to send a text asking about the romantic history of the person they’re thinking of dating. By sending a quick text to the website, you can get a quick rundown on the person’s history before saying yes to that drink after work.

The website works by allowing people to enter information – bad or good – about people they have dated. PlayerBlock members pay $4.99 per month for up to 100 messages, and the opportunity to vent as much spleen as they want against any former lovers that didn’t treat them right. Bargain. 

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Report: Social networking could hit plateau in 2012

The social-networking category will continue its rapid growth through 2009, but could level off by 2012, according to a new report by British-based Datamonitor.

The study, reported in CNet, suggests revenues from social-networking services will hit $965 million this year, swelling to $2.4 billion by 2012. Growth in the membership of social-networking sites varies dramatically by region, according to the analyst, which predicts Asia Pacific will account for 35% of global social networking users by the end of this year, compared to 25% in North America.

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