Private equity firm Carlyle Group is preparing to launch a U.S. real estate fund and hopes to raise as much as $4 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

If successful, the fund would be one of the largest new property funds any firm has raised since the financial crisis, the Journal said.

Rivals Blackstone Group LP , TPG Capital Management LP and KKR & Co LP already have funds to tap into the real estate market. Blackstone has more than $54 billion of property assets under management.

"We believed in the inherent value of the investments we were making despite the noise in the market," Robert Stuckey, head of Carlyle's U.S. real estate group, told the Journal. He declined to discuss the new fundraising.

In June, Crown Acquisitions and real estate investment firm Highgate agreed to buy from Carlyle a 27-story glass and steel office and retail tower at 650 Madison Avenue for about $1.3 billion.

Carlyle, which has about $176 billion in assets under management, could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; editing by Patrick Graham)