What a weird year it’s been in housing. On the ultra-luxury side, 2014 brought with it several new records. Two nine-figure sales each shattered the previously-held record for America’s most expensive home sale before mid-year. By the end of 2014, a whopping 16 sales had closed at the $50 million price point or higher–a heretofore unheard of volume at this price level.

Meanwhile, as the luxury housing market is clearly on fire, the overall housing market has experienced a dramatic slow-down. Gone are the double-digit, year-over-year monthly price increases of late 2013 and early 2014. In their place: slower price appreciation, declining home sales volume, and new construction down. Economists say the numbers mean that we’ve left the rapid recovery phase and entered a new housing normal (expected to continue in 2015.)

If it seems bizarre that price growth would be slowing down for most of the American housing market while rapidly accelerating on the ultra-high end, perhaps it shouldn’t, given what we know about income levels for average Americans (stagnant) compared to the global ultra-rich (getting richer).

“New York, Miami, and Los Angeles are now seen as the key safe havens in the U.S. for investments in property,” says Royce Pinkwater, founder and CEO of Pinkwater Select, a global real estate firm that works with investors. “The deals have grown exponentially in part because of how expensive Europe is, and London.”