The growth in housing costs eased in August, but not enough to bring inflation down to where it needs to be. The shelter component in the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.3% in August from the previous month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday, down from the 0.4% month-over-month increases in both July and June. Year over year, the shelter index was up 7.3%, the lowest annual increase since November 2022. Still, the index was the largest factor in the monthly increase for core inflation, which came in slightly higher than expected. And the year-over-year increase in the index remains far higher than the 2.88% average since 2003. But these measures operate on a lag, and don't necessarily reflect what's happening in real time. Rent, for example, has returned to the prior year's record-high levels after declining in the third and fourth quarters of last year. But the growth has been at a much more moderate pace. "Rent increased 7.3% from a year ago in August, but the monthly gain was the slowest in two years at 0.29% or a 3.5% annualized rate. Private sector apartment rent data is implying even slower gains," Lawrence Yun, the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors®, said in a statement after the CPI release. "That means that a heavyweight component of overall inflation will be much calmer in upcoming months."