Sales of new single-family houses in December 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 11.6% above the revised November rate of 431,000 and is 8.8% above the December 2013 estimate of 442,000.

The remarkably high print immediately brought skepticism in some quarters, noting that Census has revised downward its estimate seven months in a row.

“The reason for our disbelief? Because as we have been tracking for the past 6, and now 7 months, every single such euphoric print since May of 2014 has been revised substantially lower after the fact (and after the headline-scanning algos promptly gobbled up stocks on the initial "beat"), and sure enough, the November print of 438K, was also just "revised" downward to 431K,” writes Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge. “Putting today's "highest in 7 years" new home sales print in context: consider that in May 2014 the same data series was originally reported at 504K... only to be revised to 458K”

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(Source: ZeroHedge)

The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2014 was $298,100; the average sales price was $377,800.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 219,000. This represents a supply of 5.5 months at the current sales rate.

An estimated 435,000 new homes were sold in 2014. This is 1.2% above the 2013 figure of 429,000.