Private equity fund raising in the second quarter of 2011 improved to $66 billion in aggregate, nearly half a billion dollars more than in the first quarter, in a sign of growing investor interest. And according to analytics firm Preqin, a fund managed by Dallas-based Lone Star Investment Advisors is leading the charge in getting together cash for real estate investments. "18 real estate funds reached a final close this quarter raising an aggregate $11.2bn," reads the Preqin 2Q10 report. "Lone Star Funds accounted for almost half of the capital raised by such funds, closing Lone Star Real Estate Fund II on $5.5 billion at the end of May 2011." The report states that funds primarily focusing on the US have raised the most capital during Q2 2011, with 54 funds raising a total of $40.7 billion. In terms of fund raising by fund type, buyout funds (21) and venture funds (20) performed stronger than real estate (18). According to the report, 41 funds focusing primarily on Asia and the Rest of World gathered a total of $15.5 billion, while European fundraising continued to lag behind other regions as 25 funds with a primary focus on the region raised an aggregate $9.8 billion. Deals are closing on average five months faster than last year, but not as quick as during boom times, the reports adds. "Investors are becoming far more active in committing to new vehicles in order to maintain their allocations to the asset class," said Tim Friedman, senior manager at Preqin. "While this isn’t yet translating into huge increases in the number and value of funds closing, in the second half of the year we are expecting to see more vehicles achieving a final close as the pace of new investment gathers momentum." The top ten volume of fundraising is listed in the chart below: Write to Jacob Gaffney. Follow him on Twitter @jacobgaffney.