NEW YORK, (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve bought $8.494 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities in the week

from Feb. 2 to Feb. 8, compared with $6.718 billion purchased the previous week, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said on Thursday.

In a move to help the housing market begun in October 2011, the U.S. central bank has been using funds from principal payments

on the agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities, or MBS, it holds to reinvest in agency MBS.

The New York Fed said on its website the Fed sold no mortgage securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae <FNMA.OB>, Freddie Mac <FMCC.OB> or the Government National Mortgage Association, or Ginnie Mae, in the latest week. It sold none the prior week.