The U.S. Commerce Department said Monday that sales of new single-family houses rose nearly 8 percent to the highest level in more than two years during May. (Here's a link to that report). That mirrors similar increases in the Twin Cities metro, where sales were up near 23 percent, counting only sales that were listed through the Regional Multiple Listing Service. Prices of those new homes were up, too, in both the Twin Cities and across the country.

Also on Monday, Ryland Homes, one of the biggest national builders, said that it plans to open two new developments in the Twin Cities, including one in Plymouth and another in Woodbury. Pre-sales are underway, but they won't officially open until later this summer. For details, check out their website. And stay tuned for a more complete story in the Tuesday paper.