Morning Minute: Mortgage applications climb to highest level since 2009

Mortgage application activity is on the rise with the Mortgage Bankers Association’s refinance index reaching a level not seen since April 2009, the HousingWire reports. The bulk of the activity — about 79 percent — is attributed to mortgage refinancing.

In other news:

Chicago companies are expecting to hire more in third quarter. The Chicago Sun-Times reports on a recent Manpower survey that found that 22 percent of employers plan on increasing staffing.

Would you be willing to share a backyard with your neighbors? The Wall Street Journal writes about homeowners who are doing just that — tearing down their fences and creating communal backyard spaces with their neighbors.

Champaign County home sales climb 25 percent compared to last year. Local REALTORS® say sales for the first five months of 2012 are up, particularly in the village of Savoy, WAND-TV reports.

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