Richard Gregan is Managing Director of Overseas Emigration Ltd. For more information visit www.my-oe.com
Can I get a mortgage in New Zealand at my age?
Q. I am thinking of buying a property in New Zealand - Queenstown, if possible - later this year. I sold a business last year and a balance of £60,000 is due to me in November when I will be 62. I already own three self-catering properties in the UK, and my husband and I also own our matrimonial home. I am thinking of the New Zealand property being a self-catering property, and as my son is in Queenstown he could keep an eye on it. Queenstown seems to have a good year-round holiday trade and the peak rental skiing season fits in well for when we want to be in the UK for summer. We would also use it from time to time.
I would not be able to buy the property outright and I do not want to apply for residency, as we only want to spend a couple of months each year there visiting my son and enjoying the climate. What is the situation for an older person obtaining a mortgage in New Zealand? Also, I had breast cancer two years ago and although I'm fine now, would this affect my mortgage hopes? Would my son be able to share the mortgage with me if I provided the downpayment? I would appreciate your advice.
Penny Brass, Isle of Arran
A. You can apply for a mortgage in New Zealnd on a common-sense commercial basis. Owning a property in New Zealand is reasonably simple and straightforward. The banks would be pretty keen to have you as a customer with or without your son if the ratio of down payment to property value stacks up. As a UK citizen you have rights of entry to New Zealand for six months at a time (currently), and there is a reciprocal healthcare agreement between the UK and New Zealand. I was recently in Queenstown and have to agree that it is a wonderful part of the world. Sounds like an idylic retirement to me!
Counting down to visa deadline
Q. I read your article in the latest issue about moving to Australia. It's something I've always wanted to do and I'm turning 30 this month. I'm not skilled so I'll go for the normal Working Holiday Visa. My question is whether I need to apply now, while I'm 29, or if I can apply in August - when I intend to go - when I'll be 30? Does this make a difference to getting the visa?
Alvin Stratford, by email
A. You have until the day before you turn 31 years of age to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. It does not matter when you apply as long as you have not turned 31. You must also be of good health and character to be granted this visa.
You could also bear in mind that you can now turn your year in Australia into two years by working for three months in "primary industry" (otherwise known as agricultural work).