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James Cramer called it months ago: We’re hitting the bottom of the housing market this year. God, I wish a little nationwide bell would go off, so we could all just smile and say with full confidence, Nowhere to go but up! Cheers. Drinks all around.

Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that our nosedive will end a little later than Cramer’s prediction. He said mid-year. The Journal says fourth quarter.

On average, house prices nationwide will hit bottom in this year’s fourth quarter at a level 36% below the peak reached in the first quarter of 2006, the report says. The price measure is based on the Fiserv Case-Shiller index.

…The report projects that peak-to-trough declines for metro areas will be 66% in Miami, Fla., 63% in Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., 58% in Phoenix, 56% in Las Vegas, 53% in Los Angeles, 38% in Washington and 33% in New York. Within those metro areas, different neighborhoods are likely to show very divergent performances; the most desirable areas near good schools and jobs are faring much better than other places.

There is a bit of a caveat here. And maybe I should have put it in fine, fine print, buried below a bunch of photos of houses with real estate signs proclaiming “Sold.” But here goes: Some markets won’t reach their bottoms until much later: 2010 or even as late as 2011. I guess that is the way averages go though.

But think of how sweet 2012 will be.