It's unlikely the government will release its grip on the housing market any time soon, the head of Freddie Mac said Monday.

A year from now, the housing market will need the same level of government support it has today, Charles E. Haldeman Jr. said at a Mortgage Bankers Association conference in Atlanta.

"I don't think there's going to be any significant improvement in the housing market and the mortgage finance market and we'll need to have the same government involvement that we have now," he said. "I don't think the system will be ready for any material disengagement of the government" this time next year.

Haldeman also said the longer the Obama administration waits to provide details on its plans for the government-sponsored enterprises, the more challenging it will be for Freddie and its sister organization Fannie Mae to operate as usual.

"The more time that passes, the harder it is to keep people energized and motivated because retention does become an issue with this much uncertainty," he said.

Fannie Mae president and CEO Michael J. Williams took a slightly more positive view, saying he hopes that by this time next year the housing market will be at the cusp of a recovery and that there will be more talk of purchase activity than refinancing.

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