(DENVER POST) — Americans bought fewer homes in May than April, suggesting a sluggish job market could threaten a modest recovery in housing.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales of previously occupied homes dropped 1.5 percent in May from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million.

Sales have risen 9.6 percent from a year ago, evidence that home sales are slowly improving. Still, the pace has fallen since nearly touching a two-year high in April and remains well below the 6 million that economists consider healthy.

The monthly decline follows a report that employers added the fewest jobs in May in a year. Weaker hiring has slowed the broader economy and could lead some to reconsider buying a home, even with record-low mortgage rates available to those who can qualify.

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