Fannie Mae said its net mortgage portfolio grew by $4.2 billion in August, to $304 billion.

The August increase, disclosed to investors last week, represents a 16.7% annual growth rate. In July, the annualized growth rate had been 12.3%.

Mortgage purchases were $7.6 billion in August, compared with $6.4 billion in July. Portfolio liquidations were $3.4 billion, up from $3.3 billion.

Jayne Shontell, Fannie Mae's senior vice president for investor relations, said year-to-date portfolio growth stood at 9.3% in August, putting the secondary mortgage agency on track to hit its target of double- digit portfolio growth for the year. In 1996 Fannie Mae's portfolio grew 13.3%.

In August net commitments to purchase mortgages were $5.7 billion, compared with $6.9 billion in July.

Ms. Shontell attributed the decline to a seasonal slowdown in the last two weeks of the month.

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