Landslide Threatens San Antonio Home-owners and Home Values

More than 80 families in a still under-construction San Antonio subdivision were evacuated Sunday when giant fissures as much as 15 feet deep opened up near their homes. Now, some of the residents want out.

The president of Pulte Homes admitted to News 4 WOAI Monday night the home-builder has had problems in the past with the partially collapsed retaining wall that is believed responsible for the landslide. The city claims the builder never obtained a permit for the wall.

The near-vertical retaining wall likely failed under the weight of the area's clay soil that readily expands when drenched with heavy precipitation, as it was last week, said Sazzad Bin-Shafique, an assistant engineering professor and soil expert at the University of Texas-San Antonio who went out to the site on Monday. Steep, tall retaining walls can hold up if built correctly, he told the Associated Press.

But the fact that the wall didn't hold up? "It spells bad news for the sellers," Matt Stigliano, a San Antonio-area Realtor with Re/Max Access told HousingWatch. "I can't imagine anyone calling me and saying they want to buy there."