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Highland Premiere Real Estate - The Hardest-Working Team in Real Estate

Welcome Laura Salgues! 

The newest real estate agent to join our team! Originally from Brazil, Laura made Los Angeles her home in 1985 and her experience in owning a wide variety of properties is what prompted her to become a real estate agent herself. Laura possesses strong negotiation skills and uses cutting-edge technology to give her clients a top-notch experience. Passionate about sharing her love of Los Angeles with her clients, she also keeps bees and chickens in her Mar Vista home in her down time. Laura is already a welcome addition to the Highland Premiere family. 

We are meeting the moment of this unprecedented real estate market with clients ready to buy and sell. By growing a team of experts with deep knowledge of the Southern California region, we will be even better positioned to serve our clients and remain committed to excellence. 

Click Here For Our May 2022 Newsletter

Our team is committed to continuing to serve all your real estate needs while incorporating safety protocol to protect all of our loved ones.

In addition, as your local real estate experts, we feel it’s our duty to give you, our valued client, all the information you need to better understand our local real estate market. Whether you’re buying or selling, we want to make sure you have the best, most pertinent information, so we’ve put together this monthly analysis breaking down specifics about the market.

As we all navigate this together, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. We’re here to support you.

– Vivian Yoon & Dennis Hsii, LIC #01925833 / 01919746

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The Big Story

Will rising rates normalize the housing market?

Quick Take:

Note: You can find the charts & graphs for the Big Story at the end of the following section.


Early innings for rising rates

Mortgage rates rose faster than expected in the first quarter of 2022, already surpassing forecasts for the year. The 30-year average mortgage rate rose swiftly in the two weeks after the Fed’s March meeting, up 0.5% between March 17 and 31 to 4.67%. This rapid increase has spurred purchases as buyers try to lock in lower rates before they climb higher. The data reflect the urgency buyers face. Nationally, home prices have reached yet another milestone: hitting above $200 per square foot, the highest level in history. But is the urgency justified? The answer is 100% yes, assuming you find the right home for you. Let’s dig into the numbers a little.

The average 30-year mortgage rate was 3.11% in December 2021, rising to 4.67% by the end of Q1 2022. If you bought a home in December and financed it with a $500,000 mortgage loan at 3.11%, your monthly spend on principal and interest would be $2,138 — versus $2,584 if you got the same loan in March 2022 at 4.67%. Over the life of the loan, you’ll spend $160,560 more at 4.67%. In short, every percentage point matters significantly. As an aside, refinancing has decreased 60% below last year’s levels, according to the Mortgage Brokers Association. Economists and real estate experts seem torn between rates peaking just below or just above 5%. Because the Fed indicated the path of rate hikes for the rest of the year, mortgage rates increased in anticipation and are likely to be affected less when the Fed moves the federal funds rate in the future, if it sticks to its schedule. At this point, we can almost guarantee that rates will not decline substantially this year.

As we look at historical trends in inflation, we are curious about how effective the Fed’s rate hikes will be. Rates rose significantly in the 1970s, partially due to the inflation rate at the time. Mortgage rates peaked at over 18%, which is unimaginable today. As we look at the long-term data, we see that inflation tends to decline when the federal funds rate is above the inflation level. Currently, the federal funds rate is far below inflation, and the Fed doesn’t plan to lift it near the inflation level because of the economic shock that would ensue. The current cost to borrow is actually negative, which may incentivize more people to borrow and spend more in the short term, driving inflation higher. At current mortgage and inflation levels, the borrower, not the lender, gains around 3% from borrowing.

In addition to rising rates, supply still drives home prices. In March, the housing supply ticked up ever so slightly from the all-time low in February. We are entering the spring buying season, however, with the lowest inventory on record. From March 2020 to March 2022, the housing supply declined 62%. Over the past three months, which had the lowest inventory on record, home prices increased nearly 10%. Rising rates, in the short term, boost demand because potential homebuyers want to get ahead of the increase, but in the long term, they reduce demand. Because the market is so undersupplied, less demand is actually a good thing. Home prices simply cannot maintain the rapid increases. Although a housing bubble isn’t likely yet, a sustainable growth rate is better and safer for the long term.


Big Story Data

The Local Lowdown

We break down three luxury areas in Los Angeles as follows:

Quick Take:

Note: You can find the charts/graphs for the Local Lowdown at the end of this section.


Home prices close the first quarter at record highs

In March 2022, home prices declined from the all-time highs reached in February in the West Side and the South Bay, while North Beach prices rose slightly. Because sales often have a one-month lag, with homes going under contract around a month before the sale is complete, we cannot yet determine how significantly increasing rates have hit the market. Mortgage rate hikes really only lower demand in the long term, but in the short term, demand increases as buyers try to lock in a lower rate. The housing market in Los Angeles has a major advantage in that high demand is constant. Luxury homes in particular are experiencing record demand. Despite the huge increases in home prices over the past 12 months, the lack of housing supply will keep prices rising in the coming months.  

The Fed is expected to raise interest rates by 0.25% at least six times this year, going from 0% to 1.90%. We are now entering a period where factors that affect prices are more mixed, unlike the past two years when all the factors caused prices to increase. Rising interest rates, which will hopefully curb the still-rising, 40-year-high inflation rate, will make homes less affordable and dampen demand over the course of the year. But inventory is so low that even with less demand, the market will likely remain undersupplied. It might seem counterintuitive that home prices can still appreciate after increasing so much over the past two years, but with inventory at record lows, home prices in 2022 will still increase — though at a slower rate than in 2021. With high sales relative to the available inventory, we anticipate a competitive market in the year ahead.


Low, but rising, inventory

The selected Los Angeles markets, like the rest of the country, have a historically low housing inventory. The sustained high demand and lack of new listings over the past year brought single-family home supplies to record lows across markets. Although the first quarter of 2022 had the lowest inventory on record, we are pleased to see that inventory is starting to increase. If an upward trend continues into the second quarter, that will be a large indicator that the housing market is normalizing. 

Sales have still been incredibly high, especially when accounting for available supply, again highlighting demand in the area. Sellers can expect multiple offers, and buyers should come with competitive offers. The incredibly high demand we’ve seen over the past year might wane as interest rates increase; however, the supply is so low that the market can handle a drop in demand without negatively affecting prices. The 30-year average fixed-rate mortgage hasn’t climbed above 5% yet, but it almost certainly will. If mortgage rates reach 5%, demand will likely decline more substantially. In the next few months, demand will remain high relative to available supply.


Months of Supply Inventory further indicates high demand and low supply

Homes are selling extremely quickly in these luxury markets. Buyers must put in competitive offers, which, on average, are 98–102% of the list price.

Months of Supply Inventory (MSI) quantifies the supply/demand relationship by measuring how many months it would take for all current homes on the market to sell at the current rate of sales. The average MSI is three months in California, which indicates a balanced market. An MSI lower than three indicates that there are more buyers than sellers on the market (meaning it’s a sellers’ market), while a higher MSI indicates there are more sellers than buyers (meaning it’s a buyers’ market). Notably, MSI is less instructive than usual — sales have slowed because inventory is so low, not because of lack of demand. Despite current MSI indicating a balanced market in the West Side, it’s definitely a sellers’ market across neighborhoods.


Local Lowdown Data

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Where There’s A Will, We’ll Find A Way

In recent newsletters, we’ve shared details about the shortage of housing inventory that still exists. While that can present challenges for buyers, it is not an absolute seller’s market anymore due to the recent jump in interest rates. Sellers have to be careful to evaluate various terms of the offer, (including appraisal and loan contingencies) not just the highest offer price.  There are more opportunities now than before to get a deal on a home while securing a relatively low interest rate. 

We are a few weeks into what is traditionally the busiest month in real estate, and despite the record-setting home sale prices and bidding wars we’ve seen over the past year, there are many people eager to get into a new home. We have buyers ready to start their search, and listings that are ramping up during this spring selling season. We also have a number of off-market listings that are coming soon that might be the right fit for you.



We are committed to each and every buyer and seller we represent, and we thank them for putting their faith in our experience and expertise. We will always find a way to make their home buying or selling journey a fulfilling one.

May the renewal of spring bring joy to you and your family.

Click Here For Our April 2022 Newsletter

Real Estate’s Busy Season Underway!  

Whether you’re buying or selling, spring typically marks the start of real estate’s busiest season. With bright green grass, blue skies, and colorful flowers blooming everywhere, spring brings a natural boost to a home’s curb appeal, which can be a boon for sellers and an incentive for buyers!

Data shows homeowners who sell during the month of May see a higher percentage of profit than any other month of the year. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and it’s the perfect time to begin your journey into a new home. 

Here’s hoping for an extra spring to your step this season, as our society is turning out of the pandemic towards more “normal” times. If your plans this year call for a home sale or purchase, we are ready to help!


Click Here For Our April 2022 Newsletter

How It Started – How It’s Going

If you recently joined us in this space you may not know our backstory: the places where we grew up, began our careers and ultimately left our jobs to form our real estate company, Highland Premiere. What is revealing is how our common interests, values, goals and reliance on each other’s strengths guided us to be able to create a special place to do what we do best. When we opened Highland Premiere in 2014, it was just us working together to help our clients find the perfect place to call home. 

Over that first year, the two of us worked hard and earned a reputation for delivering quality service to our clients. As our reputation grew, so did our client list. One year after starting our firm, we began adding team members to the Highland Premiere family.

Our style, work ethic and customer service attracted like-minded realtors. In the eight years since we founded Highland Premiere, we have gradually added to our firm, and today we proudly work alongside eight professional realtors who are like family to us. In the very near future we hope to share more news as we find novel ways to give our clients the best experience possible.

We appreciate you joining us as we add more chapters to this story. To be continued.

Here’s how it all began, our Founder’s Story.


Click Here For Our March 2022 Newsletter

Our team is committed to continuing to serve all your real estate needs while incorporating safety protocol to protect all of our loved ones.

In addition, as your local real estate experts, we feel it’s our duty to give you, our valued client, all the information you need to better understand our local real estate market. Whether you’re buying or selling, we want to make sure you have the best, most pertinent information, so we’ve put together this monthly analysis breaking down specifics about the market.

As we all navigate this together, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. We’re here to support you.

– Vivian Yoon & Dennis Hsii, LIC #01925833 / 01919746

See Your Home’s Value


The Big Story

Record highs and lows in the housing market

Quick Take:

Note: You can find the charts & graphs for the Big Story at the end of the following section.


Amplified seasonal trends

Seasonality in the housing market was incredibly steady before the pandemic. Prices typically rose from January to June, when inventory was low but rising, and then flattened from July to December, when inventory was high but declining. In January 2020, homes were already undersupplied, hitting a record low with just over a million homes for sale on the market. When the pandemic hit, demand for homes exploded, dropping inventory to shockingly low levels. During the 18 months between January 2020 and June 2021, inventory declined 49% and prices increased 32%, doubling the total price increase of the previous three years combined. By January 2022, inventory had reached an all-time low, down 60% in the past two years, while home prices reached a record high, up 34%. 

Home sales have only gotten quicker as the market has become more efficient. We can see this trend through the Days on Market and Months of Supply Inventory (MSI). Before the pandemic, homes were already selling more quickly, primarily because of technology and an increasingly competitive market. A more efficient market matches the right people with the right home at a fast pace, causing a drop in supply when new homes aren’t being built. MSI, which quantifies the supply-and-demand relationship, is at a record low, further indicating a sellers’ market. The low supply, high prices, and speed of purchases have shifted homebuyer makeup. 

The number of first-time buyers dropped 6% over the past year, while sales to investors rose 7%. All-cash offers increased significantly, often disproportionately affecting first-time buyers, who are most likely to need financing. With rising mortgage rates, many first-time buyers will once again be hit hardest with higher monthly payments. Rates have already risen, because the Fed is expected to start increasing rates in mid-March, and they will only climb higher. Because of the rising cost, the average age of homebuyers is climbing. The average first-time buyer is now 33 years old, and the average repeat buyer is 56 years old, an all-time high. As we enter a new chapter in the housing market, one characterized by rising rates and very low supply, demand can only go one direction: down. But for now, prices aren’t in danger of declining. 

Over the next several months, we expect supply to matter more than the interest rate hikes when it comes to home prices. Economists anticipate that the Fed will start the first of six incremental 0.25% increases in March. The Fed uses interest rates in particular as a tool to meet its dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability. With inflation at a near-40-year high, prices for most goods are rising while incomes are not. This situation gives the Fed little choice but to raise interest rates. Essentially, when the cost to borrow increases, fewer people want to borrow, leading to less consumer spending (less demand), which lowers prices.

As we enter this new chapter of rising mortgage rates, we don’t expect home prices to decline significantly, if at all, because supply is still such a driving factor. The low supply means that demand can decline without negatively impacting prices. We don’t expect home prices to appreciate at the record level we experienced over the past two years, but we do expect to see an increase. We are still in the middle of one of the strongest sellers’ markets in history. Buyers must come in with fast, competitive offers in this environment.


Big Story Data

The Local Lowdown

We break down three luxury areas in Los Angeles as follows:

Quick Take:

Note: You can find the charts/graphs for the Local Lowdown at the end of this section.


Home prices hit record highs in front of Fed rate hikes

In February 2022, home prices rose to all-time highs in the West Side and the South Bay, while the North Beach area declined from the peak reached last month. Mortgage rate hikes really only lower demand in the long-term, but in the short-term, demand increases as buyers try to lock in a lower rate. The housing market in Los Angeles has a major advantage in that a large number of affluent people want to live there. Luxury homes are experiencing record demand. This tends to have a snowball effect, making these areas more and more desirable places to live. Despite the huge increases in home prices over the past 12 months, the lack of housing supply will keep prices rising in the year to come. 

The Fed is expected to raise interest rates by 0.25% six times this year, going from 0% to 1.50%. We are now entering a period where factors that affect prices are more mixed, unlike the past two years when all the factors caused prices to increase. Rising interest rates, which will hopefully curb the still-rising inflation, will make homes less affordable and dampen demand over the course of the year. But inventory is so low that even with less demand, the market will likely be undersupplied. It might seem counterintuitive that home prices can still appreciate after increasing so much over the past two years, but with inventory at record lows, home prices in 2022 will still increase — though at a slower rate than in 2021. With high sales relative to the available inventory, we anticipate a competitive market in the year ahead. 


Record-low inventory persists

The selected Los Angeles markets, like the rest of the country, have a historically low housing inventory. The sustained high demand and lack of new listings over the past year brought single-family home and condo supplies to record lows across markets. We are seeing that far more people want to live in these luxury Los Angeles neighborhoods than want to leave. Sales have been incredibly high, especially when accounting for available supply, again highlighting demand in the area. Sellers can expect multiple offers, and buyers should come with competitive offers. The incredibly high demand we’ve seen over the past year might wane as interest rates increase; however, the supply is so low that the market can handle a drop in demand without negatively affecting prices. The 30-year average fixed rate mortgage hasn’t climbed above 4% yet, but it almost certainly will as the Fed starts raising rates. If mortgage rates reach 5%, demand will likely decline more substantially. In the next few months, demand will remain high relative to available supply.


Months of Supply Inventory further indicates high demand and low supply

Homes are selling extremely quickly in these luxury markets. Buyers must put in competitive offers, which, on average, are 95%-102% of the list price. 

Months of Supply Inventory (MSI) quantifies the supply/demand relationship by measuring how many months it would take for all current homes on the market to sell at the current rate of sales. The average MSI is three months in California, which indicates a balanced market. An MSI lower than three indicates that there are more buyers than sellers on the market (meaning it’s a sellers’ market), while a higher MSI indicates there are more sellers than buyers (meaning it’s a buyers’ market). Notably, MSI is less instructive than usual — sales have slowed because inventory is so low, not because of lack of demand. Despite current MSI indicating a balanced or even a buyers’ market, it’s definitely a sellers’ market across neighborhoods.

Local Lowdown Data

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Traditionally spring and summer are the busiest months for real estate transactions and as the weather warms up, our team is preparing now for the influx of inventory we predict will be coming to market in the very near future. 

While interest rates remain in the high 3% range, multiple market indicators show a projected increase up to 4 percent and higher by the end of this year. We believe there will be a wave of buyers ready to make an offer as sellers strategically enter the market. 

Our combination of experience and knowledge in the Los Angeles real estate market gives us the tools to deliver for our clients. Whether you’re buying or selling, our team is prepared and ready for whatever spring brings.

Click Here For Our March 2022 Newsletter

Our team is committed to continuing to serve all your real estate needs while incorporating safety protocol to protect all of our loved ones.

In addition, as your local real estate experts, we feel it’s our duty to give you, our valued client, all the information you need to better understand our local real estate market. Whether you’re buying or selling, we want to make sure you have the best, most pertinent information, so we’ve put together this monthly analysis breaking down specifics about the market.

As we all navigate this together, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. We’re here to support you.

Vivian Yoon & Dennis Hsii, LIC #01925833 / 01919746

See Your Home’s Value

The Big Story

Mortgage Rate Hikes Now Definite

Quick Take:

Note: You can find the charts & graphs for the Big Story at the end of the following section.


The Fed Dual Mandate

On January 26, 2022, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) indicated that it would raise the federal funds rate as soon as March for the first time in over three years. The Fed adjusts the federal funds rate to influence broader interest rates, which directly affect the borrowing costs of banks. Generally, if bank borrowing costs are low, consumer borrowing costs will be low(er), and vice versa. The Fed uses interest rates in particular as a tool to meet its dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability. Employment and price stability are long-term indicators for home prices. 

We will start with the good news. Employment rebounded considerably from the highest spike in unemployment in modern history in spring 2020 to pre-pandemic levels by December 2021. As you might imagine, high unemployment rates for extended periods lead to less overall wealth: Fewer people buy homes, and more people experience foreclosures, thereby lowering home prices. Although unemployment seemed dire in 2020, employment is now on solid ground. If we view the current record-high 10.5 million job openings, along with the nearly 10 million new businesses created over the past two years, we get a better understanding of why unemployment dropped so significantly despite a record number of job openings. Simply put, people are working, and that is good for individual wealth and the larger economy. 

On to the kind-of-good, kind-of-bad news … rising mortgage rates could help curb inflation and create a more balanced housing market (although 2022 will surely be a sellers’ market), but it will make homes more expensive monthly, hitting first-time homebuyers the hardest. With the federal funds rate at 0% and inflation at a near-40-year high, rate hikes are expected to combat inflation. Essentially, when the cost to borrow increases, fewer people want to borrow, leading to less consumer spending (less demand), which lowers prices. We can look to the last inflationary period, the 1970s, as a loose guide. Inflation today is likely to be much more transitory than it was in the 1970s, but we can still expect a rise in mortgage rates like we saw then. Luckily, however, we will certainly not reach the 18+% mortgage rate that we saw in the early 1980s. As it was then, the Fed is obligated to do something now. While we wish that we could always be in periods of high employment, low inflation, and low interest rates, as we experienced for nearly a decade before the pandemic, we must recognize the atypical nature of that period. 

As we enter this new chapter of rising mortgage rates, we don’t expect home prices to change significantly, if at all, because supply is still such a driving factor. In December 2021, there were 57% fewer homes on the market than in December 2019. The low supply means that demand can decline without affecting prices. Does it matter if 10 offers drop to five? Probably not, and it might even create a better market. Sellers tend to become buyers, so unless you’re a first-time homebuyer, you’ll likely experience both sides of the market. Because sellers are often selling one home and buying another, it’s essential that sellers work with the right agent to ensure the transition goes smoothly. 

We don’t expect price appreciation to see the record gains we experienced over the past two years, but we do expect home prices to increase. Another factor at play over the past two years was a sharp increase in disposable income, which has now normalized. People had more money to spend over the past two years, and we saw that throughout markets: The housing market, the stock market, cryptos, art, jewelry, etc. all reached record high prices. As disposable income has dropped to a more normal level, we can expect assets to appreciate at a more normal pace.

If you have 30 minutes, Ray Dalio’s video How the Economic Machine Works is well worth watching.


Big Story Data

The Local Lowdown

A hot market ahead

We break down three luxury areas in Los Angeles as follows:

Quick Take:

Note: You can find the charts/graphs for the Local Lowdown at the end of this section.


Home price movements in a rising rate environment
Home prices in the selected luxury markets began the year at all-time highs in the North Beach and South Bay areas, while the West Side dipped slightly from the December peak. The housing market in Los Angeles has a major advantage in that a large number of affluent people want to live there. Luxury homes are experiencing record demand. In most of the country, we saw price appreciation slow in the second half of 2021, but the sustained record highs highlight the strong demand and desirability of the selected markets.

Mortgage rate hikes really only move demand in one direction: lower. We are now entering a period during which factors that affect prices are more mixed, unlike the past two years when all the factors caused prices to increase. Rising interest rates, which will hopefully curb the still-rising inflation, will make homes less affordable and dampen demand. But inventory is so low that even with less demand, the market will likely be undersupplied. It might seem counterintuitive that home prices can still appreciate after increasing so much over the past two years, but with inventory at record lows, home prices in 2022 will still increase — though at a slower rate than in 2021.


Record low inventory across markets
We entered 2022 with historically low inventory. The sustained high demand and lack of new listings over the past year brought supply to record lows across markets. We are seeing that far more people want to live in these luxury Los Angeles neighborhoods than want to leave. Sales have been incredibly high, especially when accounting for available supply, again highlighting demand in the area. Sellers can expect multiple offers, and buyers should come with competitive offers. The incredibly high demand we’ve seen over the past year might wane as interest rates increase; however, the supply is so low that the market can handle a drop in demand without negatively affecting prices.


Months of Supply Inventory further indicates high demand and low supply
Homes are selling extremely quickly in these luxury markets. Days on Market is trending upward slightly, but this is more a function of seasonality rather than a lack of demand for homes. Buyers must put in competitive offers, which, on average, 95%-102% of list price.

Months of Supply Inventory (MSI) quantifies the supply/demand relationship by measuring how many months it would take for all current homes on the market to sell at the current rate of sales. The average MSI is three months in California, which indicates a balanced market. An MSI lower than three indicates that there are more buyers than sellers on the market (meaning it’s a sellers’ market), while a higher MSI indicates there are more sellers than buyers (meaning it’s a buyers’ market). In January, MSI remained low in North Beach and the South Bay, indicating a strong sellers’ market, while West Side MSI implies a balanced market. Notably, the January increase in MSI is less instructive than usual — sales slowed because inventory is so low, not because of lack of demand. Currently, it’s a sellers’ market across neighborhoods.


Local Lowdown Data

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Building and Growing Our Team

While we don’t measure success by the size of our team, we do know our team is the reason we succeed. When we founded Highland Premiere, the two of us worked together to offer our clients the highest level of service. We are high-touch, and are focused on the entire journey, process, and experience rather than just the outcome. Our goal has always been to take a more holistic approach, walking with our clients when they make the most important purchase of their lives, or the big decision to sell their home. Over the years, we have steadily and selectively grown our team by adding agents that share our values, goals, mindset and culture. They’ll be the first to tell you they had a pretty high bar to clear!

Currently, we proudly work alongside eight real estate professionals whom we consider family. Covering a wide range of the Southern California landscape, each agent brings an array of talent, personality, knowledge and experience along with the commitment to continuing the quality of service on which we built our reputation and our clients have come to expect. As we continue to help more and more individuals, we will continue to grow our team to serve our clients in more areas and in even bigger ways.


Click Here For Our February 2022 Newsletter

LA Set To Take Center Stage for Sports

Getting Los Angeles show-ready to host Super Bowl LVI as well as the 2028 Olympics meant spending billions in improvements for tourists and athletes throughout the City and County of Los Angeles, with homeowners reaping the benefits as well. Analysis from the past seven Olympics show home values increased in the host cities prior to and following the event.

This weekend, Los Angeles is gearing up for Super Bowl LVI at Sofi Stadium (Go Rams!), the first Super Bowl in this brand new arena which will also server as the main venue for the opening ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics.

An estimated $8.5 billion will be spent on 28 transit projects with completion on most expected before the 2028 Olympics. Los Angeles’ massive investment in infrastructure, LAX expansion and added hotels and housing will create and sustain real estate value long after the Olympic Torch is extinguished.

We love calling Los Angeles home and are excited to be a part of this exciting future.

Click Here For Our February 2022 Newsletter

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