IRVINE, Calif. – March 18, 2015 – RealtyTrac released a report analyzing purchase loan and sales data for single-family homes and condos in 2014 in 386 U.S. counties. Nationwide, on average, buyers who purchased a 2014 home put 14 percent down, or an average $32,141.

However, the downpayment amount can vary a lot by county. In Florida, Sumter County buyers saw the lowest average downpayment – less than 4 percent. In Dixie County, however, the average downpayment was 27 percent.

Most of Florida's most populous counties saw downpayments in the 13 percent to 21 percent range, while a handful of counties – generally in the middle of the state, north of Tampa and in the Panhandle – had downpayments in the 4 percent to 13 percent range. Miami-Dade County (average home price $187,900, average downpayment 18.95 percent) was the second least expensive after Maricopa County, Arizona, in RealtyTrac's list of the nation's 10 largest counties.

The numbers can be misleading, however, since a percentage of price comparison in Monroe County (average home price $350,000 with a 24.24 percent downpayment) doesn't compare easily to Calhoun County (average home price $39,350, average downpayment 14.17 percent).

"This analysis shows that first time homebuyers have a better shot at buying a home in low-priced markets, not just because of the lower price point but because, on average, buyers are putting down just 12 percent in those markets compared to 24 percent in high-priced markets," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Meanwhile, the markets where millennials are moving the most have above-average downpayment percentages, which will make it tough for millennial renters to convert into first-time homebuyers."

Blomquist says there are exceptions, however, "where the combination of an influx of millennials and relatively low average downpayment percentages indicate markets that will see a quicker return of the first-time homebuyer."

Nationwide, downpayments average 24 percent in the highest-priced markets and 12 percent in the lowest-priced markets.

"After the great recession, the public is becoming more aware of the available lending opportunities in the market today. The pendulum has swung back to a strong lending environment," says Mike Pappas, CEO and president of the Keyes Company in South Florida market. "As the millennials continue to move into the market and the investors diminish, we will see the number of low downpayment loans increase "Home affordability is still near an all-time high in our market – which makes it still a great buying opportunity."

For a Florida county-by-county analysis, visit RealtyTrac's website. (Slide Florida to the map's center and enlarge.) Click on a county to see its downpayment statistics.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®