Perth homeowners may not have to wait much longer for some property price solace, if predictions by REA Group chief economist Nerida Conisbee come true.

Ms Conisbee, a keynote speaker at the Property Council of Australia WA’s Residential Property Recovery breakfast tomorrow, says in the 21⁄2 years she has been with REA Group, which owns residential sales and rental listings website, a consistent spike in searches in an area has signalled a price surge in 12 months. Fewer views heralded a decline. The lead time is about 12 months.

For example, she told The West Australian, a surge in Hobart home searches in 2015 was followed by rising house prices in 2016 and 2017.

“In Perth from 2014 to the end of 2017 we had a drop off in demand but at the end of 2017 that started to turn around,” Ms Conisbee said.

“The number of views per listing on our site, for people looking at Perth property really started to pick up.”

Given that, Ms Conisbee is predicting growth in Perth’s lacklustre home prices towards the end of this year or in the first half of next.

Her forecast will likely be well received, given CoreLogic numbers this week showed Perth house prices again fell. CoreLogic said the median Perth house price was $447,538 last month and values fell 1.5 per cent over the past year.

Apartment prices fell 5.5 per cent over the past 12 months.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia WA says as supply has outstripped demand, average prices for new Perth land is at $230,825 — the cheapest in the country, though it tips a rebound in the coming 12 to 18 months.

Ms Conisbee said REA Group also tracked rental demand and this was also improving in Perth, albeit off a low base.

“There are a lot of people now who are feeling more confident,” she said. “They are looking at Perth thinking now is the best it’s going to get (for) getting into a premium suburb.”