First-time homebuyers have played only a small part in the nation's housing recovery, with investors and cash buyers doing a lot of the buying in key real estate markets.

But Trulia's chief economist Jed Kolko is more positive about this age group. He sees them turning a corner on the jobs front, which is the first step towards growing homeownership numbers.

He notes the month of November brought forth more solid numbers on the jobs front, especially among the 25-to-34 year old age demographic. With this demographic generally in the prime age group for first-time home buying, Kolko is decidedly more optimistic about what this age group may do for the housing market in the coming years.

"The good news: among 25-34 year-olds, the prime age group for housing demand, 75.2% were employed in November, up from 75.1% in October and from 73.9% in November 2011," Kolko wrote.

The unemployment rate for this age group sat at 7.9% in November, which is high, but down from 9.2% a year earlier. 

The student debt situation and employment numbers have weighed heavily on this group, keeping them from homeownership. But Kolko's assessment on Friday is more hopeful.

Will first-time homebuyers make a come back in the next few years? That's the looming question as we steer timidly into 2013.