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WASHINGTON – Mortgage giant Fannie Mae earned $1.8 billion from July through September, helped by an improving housing market that has lifted home prices.

The government-controlled company said Wednesday that it paid a dividend of $2.9 billion to the U.S. Treasury and sought no additional federal aid.

It was Fannie’s third profitable quarter since being taken over by the government during the 2008 financial crisis. The gain compares with a net loss of $5.1 billion in the same period last year.

The government rescued Fannie and the smaller Freddie Mac after both incurred massive losses on risky mortgages. Taxpayers have spent about $116 billion to rescue Fannie. So far, the company has repaid the government $23 billion.

Freddie Mac said Tuesday that it earned $2.9 billion in the July-September quarter and paid a dividend of $1.8 billion to the U.S. Treasury. It was Freddie’s fourth-straight profitable quarter.

Fannie and Freddie are required to pay 10 percent dividends on the government money they receive.

Under a federal policy announced last summer, Fannie and Freddie have to turn over all profits they earn every quarter to the government.

The change was made to ensure that the companies pay the government back.

Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee about half of all U.S. mortgages, or nearly 31 million home loans. Along with several federal agencies, they backed nearly 90 percent of new mortgages over the past year.