The regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said on Monday he is considering some reform scenarios that include higher costs for mortgages backed by the government and sharing more risk with the private sector.

A series of periodic, gradual price increases makes more sense than or two large price adjustments, said Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Speaking at a mortgage conference sponsored by the North Carolina Mortgage Bankers Association, DeMarco said the goal is to lessen the long-term exposure to risk for the two government-sponsored enterprises.

The increased guarantee fees will not happen immediately but should be expected in 2012, he added.

Fannie and Freddie, seized three years ago amid fears the two were at risk of failing, have so far cost taxpayers more than $140 billion.

DeMarco also said the regulator will look at a number of ways to dampen the two firms' exposure to risk, including expanding the use of mortgage insurance and securities structures that allow for greater private-sector risk sharing.

These types of risk-sharing alternatives have an added benefit of providing feedback into the Enterprises' guarantee fee pricing decisions, DeMarco said.

(Reporting by Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by Andrea Ricci)