WASHINGTON — Despite signs that "activity in the housing sector has increased," the Federal Reserve Board's policymaking committee said Wednesday that it would continue to purchase debt and mortgage-backed securities from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into next year.

The Fed has committed to buying $1.25 trillion of MBS and $200 billion of debt from the government-sponsored enterprises, though the central bank has been saying that those purchases would wrap up by yearend. The purchases will now continue through the first quarter of 2010.

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