Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, strong buyers of mortgages throughout the year, have bolstered their mortgage portfolios in response to a tremendous widening in spreads this fall.

Together, Fannie and Freddie's purchases grew almost 32% from the August total, to $29.9 billion in September. Commitments to buy mortgages for their portfolios also jumped, to $38 billion-breaking January's record by almost $9 billion-according to Inna Koren, first vice president at Prudential Securities.

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