The U.S. housing recovery continues to improve and should continue to strengthen through the end of the year, Home Depot CEO Frank Blake told CNBC on Thursday.
The home improvement retailer recently reported its best second quarter in two decades, said Blake, who is also chairman of the company. Its profits were up 17 percent in the quarter, while sales climbed 9.5 percent, to $22.5 billion.
States hit hardest in the housing collapse of 2008, including Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada, are all coming back, he said. People avoided big-ticket purchases during the downturn but are now taking on costly renovation projects, he added, and professional customers are coming back because of the availability of credit.
Blake confirmed his company's decision to pull out of the Chinese market last September.
"Not that China isn't a great market, but we didn't have the answer for the Chinese market and in particular ... understanding the needs of the Chinese consumer and how we could use our distribution strength to provide them better value," he said."We just never could solve that problem."
Though Home Depot has strong operations in Canada and Mexico, Blake called the company "a very North American business" and said it isn't interested in expanding anywhere else right now.