Are we in for a pensions bonanza with the usual lemmings pouring their hardearned savings into property?

Well, plenty of people are predicting this.

The sector is getting feverish over the imminent arrival of Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs).

From April next year individuals will be able to include residential property in SIPPs for the first time. This has led to predictions that there could be a buy-to-let boom as people purchase properties through their pension scheme to rent out, while there has also been speculation that some could be tempted to put holiday homes or even the family home into their pension.

Accountants, lawyers and property executives are seeing ever more pound notes before their eyes.

And glitzy marketing has been pushing the advantages.

A few lone voices, but not many, have pointed out there are potential pitfalls.

So it was good news this week to see heavyweight Norwich Union, part of Aviva, express concern that people may be drawn into investing their pension fund in property without fully understanding the implications.

Some of the adverts claim buying a residential property through a SIPP would effectively reduce the cost of it by up to 40 per cent because of the tax relief available on pension investments. But they fail to warn people that they could lose control of their property as it would have to be held by a trustee of a pension fund, effectively meaning someone would become a tenant in their own home and would have to get permission from the trustee before they could carry out home improvements.

People may also have to sell their home when they retire in order to generate an income from the investment.

At the same time Norwich Union cautioned that people who invested in overseas properties could face a substantial tax bill as it was not clear whether these would be subject to wealth taxes and capital gains taxes in the country they were in.

Tax authorities overseas may also treat a pension fund as a company - meaning it would be subject to corporation tax - rather than an individual.

In other words people, particularly those in final salary schemes, should think twice before transfering funds out of their existing pension arrangements to go the SIPP route.

The old story of not believing in pots of gold at the end of rainbows.

So worried is Norwich Union it is raising the matter with City watchdog the Financial Services Authority.

Iain Oliver, Norwich Union's head of pensions, said: "We are concerned that some of the current marketing of new SIPP investments is over-simplistic for what is a very complex decision with long-term implications."

Naturally, the Treasury is taking a jaundiced view from the sidelines.

A spokesman said: "We have always drawn attention to the limiting factors that will make investing property into SIPPs unattractive for many people."

Perhaps SIPP should actually stand for Sucking In Perfect Prats.

So make sure you're not taken for a mug.