President Obama signed a bill into law Thursday that extends higher-loan limits for the government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for one year. The provisions under H.R. 3081 also allocate $20 billion to the Federal Housing Administration General and Special Risk Insurance Funds to continue making loans through the end of 2010. The maximum amount that can be loaned out through the GSEs for a single-family residential mortgage is $729,750. That cap would have dropped to $625,500 had the bill not passed. Robert Story Jr., chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association, said extending the existing limits is essential to the functionality of the housing industry. "The current limits have been a key component of keeping the mortgage market functioning, helping keep mortgage interest rates low for consumers who want to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage," Story said after Congress passed the bill Thursday. The bill is set to expire in October 2011. Write to Christine Ricciardi.