SEATTLE -- About two years after TPG Capital expanded into real estate, the firm started by David Bonderman and James Coulter has invested more than $2 billion of equity in properties including California malls, a home builder, Florida apartments and office buildings in the U.S. and London.Instead of raising a dedicated real estate fund like many of its big private equity rivals, the Fort Worth- and San Francisco-based TPG has been investing in property with money from its global buyout fund and striking alliances with pensions and real estate operating companies, including a $350 million pledge from New Jersey's state pension fund in October. TPG is playing catch-up with Blackstone Group L.P., the largest private equity investor in real estate, with about $57 billion of equity under management."They're looking at the real estate world differently than just buying a building, fixing it up and selling it," said Timothy Walsh, director of New Jersey's Division of Investment.The former Texas Pacific Group has been finding investments in distress, both in the housing market and commercial property, while exploiting the global appetite for the investment yields that real estate can offer.Some investors viewed the hiring of Robert Weaver in October 2011 as a sign that TPG would start a real estate fund. Weaver was previously at Morgan Stanley, where his specialty was raising money from investors. Morgan Stanley's property funds unit was the biggest real estate investor among Wall Street firms until the credit crisis.