Across France, Italy, Spain and Germany that number increased, year-on-year, by 8% in 2005; but by 2010 the growth was 4.8% and in 2016 it was just 0.9%.
Brexit is expected to accelerate this trend.
While Britain leaving the European Union may force retirees with existing plans to move to Europe to bring their plans forward, so their rights are grandfathered under the eventual post Brexit deal, the decline of the pound will put others off altogether.
The loss of EU rights for those who may have considered a move to Europe in the next five years is a further disincentive.
Long term, the deal Britain receives after Brexit will determine if numbers drop significantly.
Two further factors which have cooled Brits looking for a place in the sun have been the Spanish property collapse after 2008 and the trend for adult children to continue to live with their parents in the UK.
More than a quarter of UK 20 to 34-year-olds now live with their parents, according to the ONS.
A pensioner boom
However, a Migration Policy Institute Europe report published late last year concludes that the numbers of UK pensioners in Europe are “notoriously difficult” to estimate.
It points to figures from Brussels which shows the expat population growing at an accelerating rate prior to Brexit; doubling from 1990 to 2015 and increasing 37% between 2014 and 2015.
The same report notes that 13% fewer UK nationals went home between 2009 and 2015, suggesting British aspirations to a European lifestyle and the good weather will not be easily extinguished.