By Imtiaz Rafi Butt
Apr 10 - 16, 2000
Established in 1979, the name Rafi Group has become synonymous with
trust and credibility. Every project of theirs be it Landmark or Empire Centre,
Green Acres or Defence Shopping Mall has been successful and has received much
praise from their clients.
In an interview with the writer, Imtiaz Rafi Butt, Chairman of the Rafi
Group, spoke about his latest project, the Green Fields Farm Housing Scheme.
Q. The future of real estate is bound up with the
political and economic situation of the county. Has that situation improved?
A. Yes, the overall situation is improving. State
institutions are coming back into their own. Ill-judged policies had led to recession and
political uncertainty. The economic situation was grim with industry stagnant, stock
market low and inflation on the rise. However, the trends of the last 2/3 months indicate
that a change for the better is in the offing. Things are beginning to look up. The stock
exchange is also on the rise. Yes, one could say that our economy will soon be on the road
Q. With economy showing signs of improvement, will
real estate receive a boost?
A. Yes, it certainly will. Some time ago in the late
seventies and eighties co-operative banks had invested heavily in real estate. The prices
of land registered an artificial upsurge because of their huge investment and internal
competition to buy more real estate. The banks collapsed because of their unprofessional
policies. The prices of land, however, remained stagnant for ten years because the huge
investment in land had suddenly ceased. But things are picking up now and the prices of
land are fast acquiring a realistic value. The government also appears to be inclined to
boost land development to give a jump start to the economy. At present, Raiwind Road is
the focus of development and the prices of land will soon be rising there. Price-wise
Gulberg, Model Town, Garden Town have become saturated. The base price in these exclusive
residential areas is already high - 25 to 35 lacs per kanal and will not increase
much say in the next five years. Compared to this the base price in a suburban area like
Raiwind Road is low and will rise many times over in the same span of time. A smart real
estate investor would prefer to buy a large plot in a suburban upcoming area than a small
plot in a settled area because it is a universally acknowledged fact that appreciation in
value is always many times higher in a suburban than a settled area. The determinants of
real estate prices keep on changing and wisdom lies in knowing when to buy what at a given
Q. Do you think this is the right time to buy land?
A. Yes, it is the buyer's market and this is just the
time to buy real estate.
Q. You have chosen Raiwind Road for your Green
Fields Farm Housing Scheme. Didn't you launch a similar scheme some years ago in the
same area? Was the scheme successfill?
A. Yes that was in 1987. It was the Green Acres
Farm Housing Scheme. It was the first farm housing scheme in Lahore and very
successful. The units sold out rapidly. Some of the most influential people of Lahore have
built palatial bungalows there complete with landscaping, lakes, bridges, arbours and
gardens. Today the place is a thriving colony and the very image of peace and
Q. Why have you moved back to Raiwind Road after
thirteen years to launch your new scheme?
A. For some very good reasons. The construction of the
Sharif Medical Complex has brought about a rapid development of the area and its
approaches. All essential services water, electricity and specially gas are
now available there. The Lahore Ring Road will pass through Raiwind Road. The construction
of a four-lane approach road is also on the cards. It is the spot designated for the
setting up of the future Safari Park, Disney World and the University of information
Technology. School and hospital facility is also available. Bloomfield Hall, Beaconhouse,
Choueifat and Sharif Medical Complex are all in the vicinity. But what is really
significant is that Thokar-Niazbeg and not Ravi Bridge has now become the more favoured
Motorway entry and exit point of Lahore. This exit and entry point is a remarkable
addition; a watershed in the developmental history of Lahore, as it has boosted the
importance of Raiwind Road and is acquiring the status of a gateway to this great city. It
is beyond the imagination of an ordinary person to visualize what this means. The fact is
that Lahore's centre of gravity is shifting and Raiwind Road will fast become the heart of
the city. And, believe me, all this will happen soon then you expect. All the groundwork
that had to be done has been done in the last fifteen years. Raiwind Road is now poised
and ready to take off. Movement in that direction is bound to snowball, more and more
people will be migrating to this area and at a much faster tempo.
Q. All your projects have excellent locations. What
about Green fields?
A. Green fields, too, is ideally located. It is just
20 minutes by car from Liberty Market and lies between the Army Welfare Trust
a huge six thousand kanal housing scheme, fully developed and sold out and Chinar
Court Housing Scheme. It is ten kilometers from Thokar-Niazbeg and only a hundred
yards from main Raiwind Road and facing the canal. The canal is not just a nondescript
strip of water bordering the land. It is, in fact, an integral part of the landscape and
lends a distinctive charm to Green Fields farm housing scheme. It may be observed here
that it is, perhaps, not correct to measure the distance to Green Fields from any random
point in the city. The most appropriate point for the purpose is Thotca;r-Niazbeg. The
city areas leadmg to Thokar-Niazbeg, namely, Muslim Town, Garden Town, Model Town, Tech
Society, Johar Town, Canal View Society etc., are aR fully developed. Thokar-Niazbeg thus
represents the outer city limit or the periphery of the urban developed area. It is only
the belt from Thokar-Niazbeg to Green Fields that needs further development. More than
half the route from Gulberg is along the boulevard. The drive is smooth and pleasant. Green
Fields also has lots of trees, greenery and vegetation. The air is clean. No dust, no
fix, no noise. In short it is a comfortable place to live in. And the soil is rich. Plant
your own trees and fashion your own garden.
Q. Will only large size plots be available in Green
Fields or are there small plots as well?
A. In fact the whole project is dtvided into two
parts. One part has been reserved for 4, 6, 8 Canal or even larger plots. The adjoining
portion has been set aside for one and two kanal plots. This will enable people from all
walks of life to avail themselves of the opportunity. Moreover, we have earmarked some
areas for the construction of mulbstorey apartments. When the project is completed it
would appear most impressive in its total
Q. What are the terms and pnces Eke?
A. I have given much thought to Hisis matter and
offered a good payment plan to the customers so that he does not fee the pinch in Hisis
regard. Yes, our terms and prices are most attractive - 10°h down payment and the rest
payable in unbelievably low instalments - just Rs. 3400/= per month per kanal. And not
only that. The total amount may be paid in as many as 4X instalments stretching over a
long period of Four Years. Can any payment plan be more accommodating? These instalments
in fact are as easy to pay as those in our traditional "committee" system.
Moreover, by the time the project is completed, the price of land and construction costs
will have gone up. But we guarantee that there will no escalation whatsoever in our prices
i.e. the prices at which the buyers had originally bought the land.
Q. How long will the buyer have to wait before he can
begin to construct his house?
A. He won't have to wait at all. He can begin
construction work himself the moment he makes 10% down payment. Or he can avail himself of
the in-house facility of quality construction offered by the company at a price to suit
his pocket and on easy monthly instalments spread over four years. He can also choose the
design of his house from one of the half a dozen designs prepared by the company for his
convenience. He can even get his chosen design modified to suit his taste and
Q. Considering the attractive terms and conditions and
the offer of design and construction facilities this is indeed a remarkable offer.
A. Yes, it is. It couldn't be better. Here is a place
where your investment would grow. Raiwind Road is rapidly developing and won't take long
to become one of the most flourishing areas of Lahore. Green Fields has all the
basic amenities water, electricity, gas plus a pollution-free environment;
and it is just 20 minutes away by car from Liberty Market. And, of course, such wonderful
terms and easy monthly instalments something that would not be available anywhere.
With the credibility the Rafi Group enjoys, there is no reason to doubt that the project
will not succeed. I would advise my friends and acquaintances to take advantage of this
exceptional offer lest they miss the bus and regret it later. I may mention that, I am
too, along with a few friends building my house in Green Fields and shall begin
construction very soon.
In Green Fields, Imtiaz Rafi Butt hopes to create another
landmark. When fully developed, Green Fields will be one of the most beautiful and
well planned residential colonies of Lahore. With its many admirable features easy
accessibility, select ambience, growth potentiab affordable terms and prices, facility for
immediate construction Green Fields, undoubtedly, be a much sought-after
project and will usher in a new concept of suburban living.