Potential minefield and scope for lots of agents making statements that are not true. Not that I am an expert but this is how I read the situation:
1) As of next April, you can include residential property in a SIPP, at the moment you are restricted to commercial property.
2) To do this you need to have a Sipp, may be stating the obvious but you can’t include property in your typical company pension.
3) If you open a Sipp now, you are restricted to a maximum investment of £2808 as a standard tax payer (I was anyway), this gets bumped up by the taxman by 22%.
4) You can transfer other pensions into this Sipp.
5) If you do 4, remember what Sipp stands for, in particular SELF INVESTED, you have to take responsibility for investing your own pension. Considering some of the recent pension scandals, you may be able to make a better fist of this than the pension companies. However, it is not a trivial task and it is your long term retirement you are playing with.
5) As of next April, you can invest the equivalent of your anual income into the Sipp (excluding property rentals etc I think). IE if you earn £30,000 pa, you can invest this in a Sipp and get 22% or 40% added courtesy of Gordon Brown. Assuming of course you have the equivalent of your anual salary lying about doing nothing.
6) If you do invest in property, it does not really belong to you if in a Sipp, it belongs to the trustees.
7) You can borrow I think up to 50% of the value of your pension fund but this has to be repayed from within the fund.
8) Any income from your property has to go into the fund, but is tax free.
9) Finally (phew), all this is still up in the air even within the UK, and as yet, is even more unclear regarding foreign property, as the tax benefits would have to be agreed to be reciprocated.
As I said, just my understanding and happy to be corrected on any points