Home prices rise the most in 6 years

U.S. home prices jumped in October by the most in more than six years as a pandemic-fueled buying rush drives the number of available properties for sale to record lows.

That combination of strong demand and limited supply pushed home prices up 7.9% in October compared with 12 months ago, according to Tuesday's S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index. That's the largest annual increase since June 2014.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced millions of Americans to work from home and it's curtailed other activities like eating out, going to movies or visiting gyms. That's leading more people to seek out homes with more room for a home office, a bigger kitchen, or space to work out.

"The data from the last several months are consistent with the view that COVID has encouraged potential buyers to move from urban apartments to suburban homes," said Craig Lazzara, Managing Director at S&P Dow Jones Indices.


BlueCross foundation aids state food banks

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation is giving another $1.75 million to six Tennessee food banks, including another $250,000 to the Chattanooga Food Bank, to help meet the needs of community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gift announced Tuesday by the Chattanooga-based health insurer follows a similar though larger $3.25 million donation from the foundation to these food banks in March, bringing the total to $5 million in 2020.

"We know many Tennesseans count on their local food banks for help — especially this year," said Roy Vaughn, executive director of the BlueCross Foundation. "BlueCross understands the vital role these organizations play in our communities, and as part of our mission to provide peace of mind, we're expanding our support to ensure they can continue helping our neighbors in need."

The BlueCross foundation also has given a combined $1.5 million for COVID testing in underserved areas, flu vaccine education efforts, and community organizations.


China probes poisoning of video game tycoon

Police in Shanghai say they have detained a suspect in the death by possible poisoning of the billionaire founder of a Chinese video game company that makes films based on the popular science fiction novel "The Three-Body Problem."

Lin Qi, 39, died on Christmas Day after being hospitalized, according to his company, Yoozoo Games Co., also known as Youzu Interactive.

A police statement said a 39-year-old coworker, identified only by the surname Xu, was detained. The statement said the victim was hospitalized Dec. 17 and diagnosed with possible poisoning but gave no other details.

An employee who answered the phone Monday at the Shanghai police press office said there was no additional information to release.

The business magazine Caixin, citing unidentified industry sources, said the suspect is an employee of Yoozoo's film division and was working on "The Three-Body Problem."

Yoozoo also is known for its game "Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming," based on the popular TV series.

Lin ranked No. 870 among China's richest entrepreneurs with a net worth of 6.8 billion yuan ($1 billion), according to Hurun Report, which follows China's wealthy.