High levels of investor activity and rising home prices put the housing market in recovery mode this year, but the real estate market for first time homebuyers is far from fully recovered, CoreLogic (CLGX) said in its November MarketPulse report.

Mark Fleming, chief economist with CoreLogic and principal economist Sam Khater, put together a housing report that shows short-to medium-term factors driving the improvements in housing.

They find the factors lifting home prices and sales correlate directly to rental demand, since investors are keen to acquire properties for rental purposes. In turn, more demand is fueling prices, helping some negative equity borrowers pull themselves out of an upside-down situation.

"A full housing recovery will be driven by a healthier economy, fundamental gains in income growth and consumption, and an ongoing increase in home prices," CoreLogic wrote in its November report.

Until then, single-family rentals are capturing more consumers' attention. In fact, rental leasing volumes rose each month for the past two years, according to CoreLogic. On average 42,000 new rentals were added to the supply during that period. That's double the average flow prior to the recession.

Overall, data by CoreLogic shows a housing finance system that's experiencing fewer defaults and foreclosures overall. The share of outstanding mortgages recorded as seriously delinquent or in foreclosure fell to 6.7% of all mortgages in September. That is down 10.2% from a year ago and marks a full 23 consecutive months of delinquency declines.

The national foreclosure rate also is down 9.2% from last year, hovering at 3.3%.

About 1.3 million homes, or 3.3% of all homes, went through a completed foreclosure in the yearlong period ending in September. That is down from 1.5 million during the same period a year earlier.