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Oddly Enough

Spaniard plans raffle for flat to escape mortgage

Miguel Marina, an unemployed Spanish man, talks on his mobile phone inside his home in Ciempozuelos, near Madrid, May 27, 2008. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - An unemployed Spanish real estate agent is selling raffle tickets in a bid to get rid of his 320,000-euro (255-pound) apartment near Madrid because he is unable to keep up with his mortgage payments and cannot sell it.

Miguel Marina said he hopes to be able to pay off his mortgage, worth 80 percent of the value of his property, by selling 64,000 tickets at 5 euros each, promising his home as the single prize to the winner of a draw.

His website, elpisodeloscincoeuros.com, which means “thefiveeuroflat.com” in Spanish, provides a contract detailing conditions for handing over the property in the dormitory town of Ciempozuelos.

“I’m going to raffle off my flat,” Marina wrote, describing how he suffered sleepless nights trying to work out how to pay off his debts on the property he bought in 2005 before losing his job selling houses as Spain’s real estate market went into a tailspin.

“I’ve tried to sell it, but no buyers call,” he said.

An increasing number of Spaniards are in a similar bind to Marina. Unemployment has risen sharply this year and estate agents report that the housing market, which boomed for a decade, has ground to a virtual halt.

Marina told Reuters that he had asked a public notary to revise his raffle contract to make sure it was legal.

“For five euros, you can win a flat, and I’ll be able to sleep again,” said Marina.

Reporting by Jason Webb

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