McCarthy & Stone reported a plunge in interim profits on Wednesday.

The British housing market stagnated in March, leading surveyors to take a gloomier approach to the state of the economy.

The number of sales and new buyer enquiries in the UK housing market experienced little change over the last month, with the latest monthly survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) showing stock levels at a new record low.

The number of sales remained “stagnant” and, on average, estate agents only held 43 unsold properties on their books at the end of March, the lowest figure recorded since the series began in 1994.

Most surveyors across the country still expect prices to rise over the next 12 months, but by a smaller majority than in February.

House prices continued to fall across London but rose steadily in the north, with those in the North West “particularly strong”.

“High-end sale properties in central London remain under pressure, while the wider residential market continues to be underpinned by a lack of stock,” said Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist.

“For the time being, it is hard to see any major impetus for change in the market, something also being reflected in the flat trend in transaction levels.”

Housing market statistics show a difference of opinion of the state of the market at the current time, with surveys from lenders Halifax and Nationwide believing that house price growth is moderating, but data from the Office for National Statistics showing that UK house prices rose by 5.8 percent year-on-year in February, up from 5.3 percent in January.