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Man wins Austrian luxury villa in unusual raffle

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[January 21, 2009]  VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- When Traude Daniel couldn't find a buyer for her luxury villa in southern Austria, she decided to raffle it off. It turned out to be quite a success: 9,999 tickets priced at euro99 ($128) each sold out within days in early December to raise nearly euro990,000 ($1,280,000).

Daniel said the 400-square-meter (4,305-square-foot) house had an estimated value of about euro830,000 (about $1 million) and had been on the market for about half a year before she came up with the idea of advertising the raffle on a Web site.

Daniel, a German, said she got inquiries from as far afield as the United States and Brazil. "The response was amazing. ... We got e-mails from around the world," she said.

Walter Egger, an Austrian, was picked Tuesday as the lucky winner of the home in Austria's southern province of Carinthia during a drawing in the southern city of Klagenfurt.

The raffle has inspired several other home owners in Austria to try to sell their homes through lotteries as the country starts to feel the effects of the financial crisis. Experts are warning of a tough year ahead.

Juergen Tatscher, who is planning to raffle off his luxury mountain bungalow, said it's an ideal way to cover one's costs, if selling high-end property the regular way proves to be tough.

"I think it's a great idea," Tatscher said.

But not everyone is as enthused.

"I'm skeptical. ... If people are seriously interested in a particular property, they'll make a bid the regular way," said Friedrich Noszek of an association of Austrian property owners.

[Associated Press; By VERONIKA OLEKSYN]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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